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C ?3 

41-- ^9S' .i^" 









TIm wofk of lighteoQsneM shall be peace ; and the effisct of rq^teoos- 
qniemeM and Miurance forever.*' ~- Isaiah. 



HA.T.ARD COLi:^: L ...... TY 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year iSji, 


in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

Univbrszty Press : Welch, Bigblow, & Co, 

" Get the writings of John Woolman 
by heartr 

Charles Lamb. 





Hit Birth tnd Ptooitagek — Some Acooant of the Operttioos of Di« 

Gnoe on his Mhkl in his Youth. — His fizst Appearance in the 
Minatiy. — And his Q ww i deia tions, while Yoan& on the Keeping 
rf SliiM 51 


Hk fine Joanef, on a Religioas Visit, in East Jeney. — Thoagfats on 
Mcvdiandising and Learning a Trade. — Second Journey into Penn- 
aylfania, Mar^and, ^Higinia, and North Carolina. — Third Journey 
timmgh part of West and East Jersey. — Fourth Journey through 
New Yoilc and Long Island to New England. — And his fifth Jour- 
ney to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Lower Counties on 

1749 -1756. 

Bis ICani^e. — The Death of his Father. — His Journeys hito the 
nppcf part of New Jeney, and afterwards into Pennsylvania. — 
Conaidcntions on keeinng Slaves, and Viuts to the Families of 
Fiieods at sevend tunes and places.— An Epistle from the General 
ICeetiQg. >— His Journey to Long Island. — > Considentions on 
Thdiog and on the Use of Spiritaoas Liqnon and Costly Apparel 
— Letter to a Friend 


vi Contents. 


X7S7» 1758. 

Visit to the Families of Friends at Burlington. — Joomey to Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, Viiginia, and North Carolina. — Considera* 
tions on the State of Friends there, and the Elxerdse he was under 
in Travelling among those so generally concerned in keeping Slavesi 
with some Observations on this Subject — Epistle to Friends at 
New Garden and Crane Creek. — Thoughts on the Neglect of a 
Religious Care in the Education of the Negroes .... 98 


X7S7. >7S8. 

Considerations on the Payment of a Tax laid for Carrying on the 
. War against the Indians. — Meetings of the Committee of the 
Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia. — Some Notes on Thomas k 
Kempis and John Huss. — The present Circumstances of Friends 
in Pennsylvania and New Jersey very Different from those of our 
Predecessors. — The Drafting of the Militia in New Jersey to serve 
in the Army, with some Observations on the State of the Members 
of our Society at that time. — Visit to Friends in Pennsylvania, 
accompanied by Benjamin Jones. — Proceedings at the Monthly, 
Quarterly, and Yeariy Meetings in Philadelphia, respecting those 
who keep Slaves 224 


»7S8. i7S> 
Visit to the Quarterly Meetings in Chester County. — Joins Daniel 
Sunton and John Scarborough in a Visit to such as kept Slaves 
there. — Some Observations on the Conduct which those should 
mainUin who speak in Meetings for Discipline. — More Visits to 
such as kept Slaves, and to Friends near Salem. — Account of the 
Yeariy Meeting in the Year 1759, and of the increasing Concern, 
in Divers Provinces, to labor against Buying and Keeping Slaves. 
— The Yearly Meeting Epistle. — Thoughts on the Small-Pox 
q;>reading, and on Inoculation x^ 


Visit, in Company with Samuel Eastburn, to Long Iskmd, Rhode 
Island, Boston, etc— Remarks on the Slave-Trade at Newport ; 
also on Lotteries. — Some Observations on the Ishmd of Nantucket 258 

Contents. vii 


X76X, 2762. 

VmHs Pamsyhrania, Shrewsbury, and Sqoan. — Publishes the Sec- 
ond Part of his ConsideratioDS on keeping Negroes. — The Grounds 
of his appearing in some Respects singular in his Dresa^ — Visit to 
the Families of Friends of Ancocas and Mount Holly Meetings. 
—>Viiit8 to the Indians at Wehaloosing on the River Susquehanna 176 


1763 -1769. 

Edigioat Coirrersation with a Company met to see the Tricks of a 
Jogl^ei: — > Account of John Smith's Advice and of the Proceed- 
ings of a Committee at the Yearly Meeting in 1764. — Contempla- 
tions on the Nature of True Wisdom. — Visit to the Families of 
Fficnds at Mount Holly, Mansfield, and Burlington, and to the 
MeetiDgB on the Sea-Coast from Cape May towards Squan. — Some 
Aoeonnt of Joseph Nichols and his Fdlowers. — On the different 
State of the first Settlers in Pennsylvania who depended on their 
own Labor, compared with those of the Southern Provinces who 
kept Negroes. —Visit to the Northern Parts of New Jersey and 
die Western Parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania, also to the 
FaouSes of Friends at Mount Holly and several Parts of Mary- 
land. — > Further Considerations on keeping Slaves ; and his Concern 
fir having been a Party to the Sale of One. — Thoughts on 
Ftiends aerdsing Offices in Qvil Government • . 908 


1769, X770. 

Bodily Indiqwitiop* — > Exercise of his Mind for the Good of the 
People in the West Indies. — Communicates to Friends his Con- 
cen to Visit some of those Islands. — Preparations to embark. •— 
Con si d era tions on the Trade to the West Indies. — Release from 
his Concern and return Home. — Religious Engagements. — Sick- 
■OH^ and Exerdae of his Mind therein 127 


Eabaiks at Cheater, with Samuel Emlen, in a Ship bomid for Lou- 
den. — Exercise of Mind respecting the Hardships of the Sailors. 
^ Conaidefations on the Dangers of training Youth to a Seafiiring 
Life. —>Tho«gbta during a Storm at Sea. — Arrival in London . 337 

viii Contents. 



Attends the Yearly Meeting in London. —Then proceeds toward 
Yorkshire — Visits Quarterly and other Meetings in the Counties 
of Hertford, Warwick, Oxford, Nottingham, York, and Westmore- 
land. — Returns to Yorkshire. — Instructive Observations and Let« 
ters. -~ Hears of the Decease of William Hunt -~ Some Account 
of him.— > The Author's last Illness and Death at York . . 257 

Testimony op Fribhds in Yorkshirb ooncbrning John Wool* 

MAN S8z 

Testimony op Friends in Burlington concerning John 


A Word op Remembrance and Caution to the Rich • 290 


'TTH) those who judge by the outward appear- 
JL ance, nothing is more difficult of explana- 
tion than the strength of moral influence often 
exerted by obscure and uneventful lives. Some 
great reform which lifts the world to a higher level, 
some mighty change for which the ages have waited 
in anxious expectancy, takes place before otu: eyes, 
and, in seeking to trace it back to its origin, we are 
often surprised to find the initial link in the chain 
of causes to be some comparatively obscure indi- 
tridual, the divine commission and significance of 
whose life were scarcely understood by his contem- 
poraries, and perhaps not even by himself The 
little one has become a thousand ; the handful of 
com shakes like Lebanon. ** The kingdom of God 
oometh not by observation"; and the only solu- 
tion of the mystery is in the reflection that through 
die bumble instrumentality Divine power was mani- 
fested, and that the Everlasting Arm was beneath 
the human one. 

The abolition of human slavery now in process 
of consummation throughout the world furnishes 

I A 

2 Introduction, 

one of the most striking illustrations of this truth. 
A far-reaching moral, social, and political revolu- 
tion, undoing the evil work of centuries, unques- 
tionably owes much of its original impulse to the 
life and labors of a poor, unlearned workingman 
of New Jersey, whose very existence was scarcely 
known beyond the narrow circle of his religious 

It is only within a comparatively recent period 
that the journal and ethical essays of this remark- 
able man have attracted the attention to which they 
are manifestly entitled. In one of my last inter- 
views with William Ellery Channing, he expressed 
his very great surprise that they were so little 
known. He had himself just read the book for the 
first time, and I shall never forget how his counte- 
nance lighted up as he pronounced it beyond com- 
parison the sweetest and purest autobiography in 
the language. He wished to see it placed within 
the reach of all classes of readers ; it was not a 
light 4D« be hidden under the bushel of a sect 
Charles Lamb, probably from his friends, the Clark- 
sons, or from Bernard Barton, became acquainted 
with it, and on more than one occasion, in his letters 
and Essays of £lia, refers to it with warm com- 
mendation. Edward Irving pronounced it a god- 
send. Some idea of the lively interest which the 
fine literary circle gathered around the hearth of 
Lamb felt in the beautiful simplicity of Woolman*s 
pages may be had from the Diary of Henry Crabb 
Robinson, one of their number, himself a man of 

Introduction. 3 

wide and varied culture, the intimate friend of 
Goethe, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. In his notes 
for First Month, 1824, he says, after a reference to a 
sermon of his friend Irving, which he feared would 
deter rather than promote belief : '' How diflferent 
this from John Woolman's Journal I have been 
reading at the same time ! A perfect gem ! His is 
a tchone SeeU^ a beautiful soul. An illiterate tailor, 
he writes in a style of the most exquisite purity and 
grace. His moral qualities are transferred to his 
writings. Had he not been so very humble, he 
would have written a still better book ; for, fearing 
to indulge in vanity, he conceals the events in 
which be was a great actor. His religion was love. 
His whole existence and all his passions were love. 
If one could venture to impute to his creed, and not 
to his personal character, the delightful frame of 
mind he exhibited, one could not hesitate to be a 
convert His Christianity is most inviting, — it is 
Cudnating 1 " One of the leading British reviews 
a few years ago, referring to this Journal, pro- 
nounced its author the man who, in all the cen- 
turies since the advent of Christ, lived nearest to 
the Divine pattern. The author of The Patience 
of Hope,* whose authority in devotional literature 
is unquestioned, says of him: ''John Woolman's 

* It will be interesting to the thousands in this country 
who have learned to admire and love this remarkable writer 
to learn that she has in preparation an appreciative review 
of the life and character of Woolman, which, it is to be 
hoped* will icon be published. 

4 Introduction. 

gift was love, — a charity of which it does not enter 
into the natural heart of man to conceive, and of 
which the more ordinary experiences, even of re- 
newed nature, give but a faint shadow. Every now 
and then, in the world's history, we meet with such 
men, the kings and priests of Humanity, on whose 
heads this precious ointment has been so poured 
forth that it has run down to the skirts of their 
clothing, and extended over the whole of the visible 
creation; men who have entered, like Francis of 
Assisi, into the secret of that deep amity with God 
and with his creatures which makes man to be in 
league with the stones of the field, and the beasts 
of the field to be at peace with him. In this pure, 
universal charity there is nothing fitful or inter- 
mittent, nothing that comes and goes in showers 
and gleams and sunbursts. Its springs are deep 
and constant, its rising is like that of a mighty 
river, its very overflow calm and steady, leaving 
life and fertility behind it." 

After all, anything like personal eulc^ seems out 
of place in speaking of one who in the humblest 
self-abasement sought no place in the world's esti- 
mation, content to be only a passive instrument in 
the hands of his Master; and who, as has been 
remarked, through modesty concealed the events in 
which he was an actor. A desire to supply in some 
sort this deficiency in his Journal is my especial 
excuse for this introductory paper. 

It is instructive to study the history of the moral 
progress of individuals or communities ; to mark 

Introduction. 5 

thegradoaldevelopmeiit of tnitfa, towatch the slow 
germination of its seed sown in simple obedience 
to the command of die Great Husbandman, while 
yet its green promise, as well as its golden fruition, 
was hidden from the eyes of the sower; to go back 
to the well-springs and fountain-heads, tracing the 
small streamlet from its hidden source, and' noting 
the tributaries which swell its waters, as it moves 
onward, until it becomes a broad river, fertilizing 
and gladdening our present humanity. To this 
end it is my purpose, as briefly as possible, to nar- 
rate the circumstances attending the relinquishment 
of slaveholding by the Society of Friends, and to 
hint at the effect of that act of justice and humanity 
iqNm the abolition of slavery throughout the world. 
At an early period after the organization of the 
Society, members of it emigrated to the Maryland, 
Carolina, Virginia, and New England colonies. The 
act of banishment enforced against dissenters under 
Charles II. consigned others of the sect to the 
West Indies, where their frugality, temperance, and 
thrift transmuted their intended punishment into 
a blessing. Andrew Marvell, the inflexible repub- 
lican statesman, in some of the sweetest and ten- 
derest lines in the English tongue, has happily 
described their condition : — 

* ' What shall we do but sing His praise 
Who led us through the watery maze, 
Unto an isle so long unknown, 
And yet £gur kinder than our own ? 
He lands us on a giassy stagey 

6 Introduction, 

Safe from the storms and prelates' rage ; 
He gives us this eternal spring, 
Which here enamels everything, 
And sends the fowls to us in care. 
On daily visits through the air. 
He hangs in shades the orange bright, 
Like golden lamps, in a green night. 
And doth in the pomegranate close 

Jewels more rich than Ormus shows. 

• • • • « 

, And in these rocks for us did frame 
A temple where to sound His name. 
Oh ! let our voice His praise exalt, 
Till it arrive at Heaven's vault. 
Which then, perhaps rebounding, may 
Echo beyond the Mexic bay.' 

So sang they in the English boat, 
A holy and a cheerful note ; 
And all the way, to guide their chime. 
With falling oars they. kept the time." 

Unhappily, * they very early became owners of 
slaves, in imitation of the colonists around them. 
No positive condemnation of the evil system had 
then been heard in the British islands. Neither 
English prelates nor expounders at dissenting con- 
venticles had aught to say against it. Few colonists 
doubted its entire compatibility with Christian pro- 
fession and conduct. Saint and sinner, ascetic and 
worldling, united in its practice. Even the extreme 
Dutch saints of Bohemia Manor on the Delaware, 
the pietists of John de Labadie, sitting at meat with 
hats on, and pausing ever and anon with suspended 
mouthfuls to hear a brother's or sister's exhortation, 

Introduction. 7 

and sandwiching prayers between the courses, were 
waited upon by negro slaves. Everywhere men 
were contending with each other upon matters of 
faith, while, so far as their slaves were concerned, 
denying the ethics of Christianity itself. 

Such was the state of things when, in 1671, 
George Fox visited Barbadoes. He was one of 
those men to whom it is given to discern through 
the mists of custom and prejudice something of 
the lineaments of absolute truth, and who, like the 
Hebrew lawgiver, bear with them, from a higher 
and purer atmosphere, the shining evidence of com- 
munion with the Divine Wisdom. He saw slavery 
in its mildest form among his friends, but his in- 
tuitive sense of right condemned it. He solemnly 
admonished those who held slaves to bear in mind 
that diey were brethren, and to train them up in 
the fear of God. " I desired, also," he says, " that 
they would cause their overseers to deal gently 
and mildly with their negroes, and not use cruelty 
towards them as the manner of some hath been 
and is ; and that, after certain years of servitude, 
they should make them free." 

In 1675, t^^ companion of George Fox, William 
Edmundson, revisited Barbadoes, and once more 
bore testimony against the unjust treatment of 
slaves. He was accused of endeavoring to excite 
an insurrection among the blacks, and was brought 
before the Governor on the charge. It was prob- 
ably during this journey that he addressed a remon- 
strance to friends in Maryland and Virginia on the 

8 Introduction. 

subject of holding slaves. It is one of the first em- 
phatic and decided testimonies on record against ne« 
gro slavery as incompatible with Christianity, if we 
except the Papal bulls of Urban and Leo the Tenth. 

Thirteen years after, in 1688, a meeting of Ger- 
man Quakers, who had emigrated from Kriesheim, 
and settled at Germantown, Pennsylvania, addressed 
a memorial against ^'the buying and keeping of 
negroes" to the Yearly Meeting for the Pennsyl- 
vania and New Jersey colonies. That meeting took 
the subject into consideration, but declined giving 
judgment in the case. In 1696, the Yearly Meet- 
ing advised against " bringing in any more negroes." 
In I7i4> in its Epistle to London Friends, it ex- 
presses a wish that Friends would be 'Mess con- 
cerned in buying or selling slaves." The Chester 
Quarterly Meeting, which had taken a higher and 
clearer view of the matter, continued to press the 
Yearly Meeting to adopt some decided measure 
against any traffic in human beings. 

The Society gave these memorials a cold recep- 
tion. The love of gain and power was too strong, 
on the part of the wealthy and influential planters 
and merchants who had become slaveholders, to 
allow the scruples of the Chester meeting to take 
the shape of discipline. The utmost ^that could 
be obtained of the Yearly Meeting was an expres- 
sion of opinion adverse to the importation of ne- 
groes, and a desire that '' Friends generally do, as 
much as may be, avoid buying such negroes as A?3\ 
hereafter be brought in, rather thai^ offend aaj 

Introduction. 9 

Friends who are against it ; yet this is only caution, 
and not censure." 

In the mean time the New England Yearly Meet- 
ing was agitated by the same question. Slaves 
were imported into Boston and Newport, and 
Friends became purchasers, and in some instances 
were deeply implicated in the foreign traffic. In 
1 7 16, the monthly meetings of Dartmouth and Nan* 
tncket suggested that it was ^ not agreeable to truth 
to purchase slaves and keep them during their term 
of life.** Nothing was done in the Yearly Meeting, 
however, until 1727, when the practice of importing 
n^oes was censiured. That the practice was con- 
tinued notwithstanding, for many years afterwards, 
is certain. In 1758, a rule was adopted prohibiting 
Friends within the limits of New England Yearly 
Meeting from engaging in or countenancing the 
fcieign Slave-trade. 

In the year 1742 an event, simple and inconsid- 
erable in itself was made the instrumentality of 
eacerting a mighty influence upon slavery in the So- 
ciety of Friends. A small storekeeper at Mount 
HoUy,* in New Jersey, a member of the Society, 

* Mount HoUy is a village lying in the western part of the 
long, narrow township of Northampton, on Rancocas Creek, 
a tribotary of the Delaware. In John Woolman's day it was 
almost entirely a settlement of Friends. A very few of the 
old houses with their quaint stoops or porches are left. That 
occnpicd by John Woolman was a small, plain, two-story 
■tnictnre; with two windows in each story in front, a four- 
faaned lence enclosing the grounds, with the trees he planted 
and loved to cultivate. The house was not painted, but 


10 Introduction. 

sold a negro woman, and requested the young man 
in his employ to make a bill of sale of her. On 
taking up his pen, the young clerk felt a sudden 
and strong scruple in his mind. The thought of 
writing an instrument of slavery for one of his fel- 
low-creatures oppressed him. God's voice against 

wfaitewaehed. The name of the place is derived from the 
highest hill in the county, rising two hundred feet above the 
sea, and .commanding a view of a rich and level country, of 
cleared £ums and woodlands. Here, no doubt, John Wool- 
man often walked under the shadow of its holly-trees, com- 
muning with -nature and musing on the great themes of life 
and duty. 

When the exoellent Joseph Sturge was in this country, 
some thirty years ago, on his errand of humanity, he visited 
Mount Holly, and the house of Woolman, then standing. 
He describes it as a very " humble abode." But one person 
was then living in the town who had ever seen its venerated 
owner. This aged man stated that he was at Woolman's 
little farm in the season of harvest, when it was customary 
among farmers to kill a calf or sheep for the laborers. John 
Woolman, unwilling that the animal should be slowly bled 
I to death, as the custom had been, and to spare it unnecessary 
: suffering, had a smooth block of wood prepared to receive 
the neck of the creature, when a single blow terminated its 
existence. Nothing was more remarkable in the character 
of Woolman than his concern for the well-being and comfort 
of the brute creation. "What is religion?" asks the old 
Hindoo writer of the Vishnu Sarman. "Tenderness to- 
ward all creatures." Or, as Woolman expresses it, " Where 
the love of God is verily perfected, a tenderness towards all 
creatures made subject to our will is experienced, and a care 
felt that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal 
creation which the Creator intends for them under our govern- 

IniroducHofu 1 1 

die desecration of his image spoke in his souL 
He yielded to the will of his employer, but, while 
writing the instrument, he was constrained to de- 
clare, both to the buyer and the seller, that he be- 
lieved slave-keeping inconsistent with the Christian 
religion* This young man was John Woolman* 
The circumstance above named was the starting- 
point of a life-long testimony against slavery. In 
the year 1746 he visited Maryland, Virginia, and 
North Carolina. He was afflicted by the prevalence 
of slavery. It appeared to him, in his own words, 
*' as a dark gloominess overhanging the land.'' On 
his return, he wrote an essay on the subject, which 
was published in 1754. Three years after, he made 
a second visit to the Southern meetings of Friends. 
Travelling as a minister of the gospel, he was 
compelled to sit down at the tables of slaveholding 
planters, who were accustomed to entertain their 
friends free of cost, and who could not comprehend 
the scruples of their guest against receiving as a 
gift food and lodging which he regarded as the gain 
of oppression. He was a poor man, but he loved 
truth more than money. He therefore either placed 
the pay for his entertainment in the hands of some 
member of the family, for the benefit of the slaves, 
or gave it directly to them, as he had opportunity.* 

* The tndition is that he travelled mostly on foot during 
Us journeys among slaveholders. Brissot, in his New Trav* 
ds in America, published in 1788, says: *'John Woolman, 
mut of the most distinguished of men in the cause of humanity, 
travelled much as a q|iinister of his sect, but always on foot^ 

12 Introduction. 

Wherever he went, he found his fellow-professors 
entangled in the mischief of slavery. Elders and 
ministers, as well as the younger and less high in 
profession, had their house servants and field hands. 
He found grave drab-coated apologists for the slave- 
trade, who quoted the same Scriptures, in support 
of oppression and avarice, which have since been 
cited by Presbyterian doctors of divinity, Metho- 
dist bishops, and Baptist preachers for the same 
purpose. He found the meetings generally in a 
low and evil state. The gold of original Quaker- 
ism had become dim, and the fine gold changed. 
The spirit of the world prevailed among them, and 
had wrought an inward desolation. Instead of 

and without money, in imitation of the Apostles, and in order 
to be in a situation to be more useful to poor people and the 
blacks. He hated slavery so much that he could not taste 
food provided by the labor of slaves." That this writer was 
on one point misinformed is manifest from the following 
passage from the Journal : " When I expected soon to leave 
a friend's house where I had entertainment, if I believed that 
I should not keep dear from the gain of oppression without 
leaving money, I spoke to one of the heads of the family 
privately, and desired them to accept of pieces of silver, and 
give them to such of their negroes as they believed would 
make the best use of them;^ and at other times I gave them 
to the negroes myself, as the way looked clearest to me. 
Before I came out, I had provided a large number of small 
pieces for this purpose, and thus offering them to some who 
appeared to be wealthy people was a trial both to me and 
them. But the fear of the Lord so covered me at times that 
my way was made easier than I expected ; and few, if any, 
manifested any resentment at the offer, and most of then^ 
after some convezsation, accepted of them." 

Introduction. 1 3 

meekness, gentleness, and heavenly wisdom, he 
found ^' a spirit of fierceness and love of dominion/ 
In love, but at the same time with great faithfulness, 
he endeavored to convince the masters of their er- 
ror, and to awaken a degree of sympathy for the 

At this period, or perhaps somewhat earlier, a re- 
markable personage took up his residence in Penn- 
sylvania. He was by birthright a member of the 
Society of Friends, but having been disowned in 
England for some extravagances of conduct and 
language, he spent some years in the West Indies, 
where he became deeply interested in the condition 
of the slaves. His violent denunciations of the 
practice of slaveholding excited the anger of the 
planters, and he was compelled to leave the island. 
He came to Philadelphia, but, contrary to his ex- 
pectations, he found the same evil existing there. 
He shook off the dust of the city, and took up his 
abode in the country, a few miles distant His 
dwelling was a natural cave, with some, slight ad- 
dition of his own making. His drink was the 
spring-water flowing by his door ; his food^ vege- 
tables alone. He persistently refused to wear any 
garment or eat any food purchased at the expense 
of animal life, or which was in any degree the pro- 
duct of slave labor. Issuing from his cave, on his 
mission of preaching '^ deliverance to the captive," 
he was in the habit of visiting the various meetings 
for worship and bearing his testimony against slave- 
holders, greatly to their disgust and indignation* 

14 Introduction. 

On one occasion he entered the Market Street 
Meeting, and a leading Friend requested some one 
to take him out A burly blacksmith volunteered 
to do it, leading him to the gate and thrusting him 
out with such force that he fell into the gutter of 
the street There he lay until the meeting closed, 
telling the bystanders that he did not feel free to 
rise himself. " Let those who cast me here raise 
me up. It is their business, not mine." 

His personal appearance was in remarkable keep- 
ing with his eccentric life. A figure only four and 
a half feet high, hunchbacked, with projecting 
chest, legs small and uneven, arms longer than his 
legs ; a huge head, showing only beneath the enor- 
mous white hat large, solemn eyes and a prominent 
nose; the rest of his face covered with a snowy 
semicircle of beard falling low on his breast, — a 
figure to recall the old legends of troll, brownie, 
and kobold. Such was the irrepressible prophet 
who troubled the Israel of slaveholding Quakerism, 
clinging like a rough chestnut-burr to the skirts of 
its respectability and settling like a pertinacious 
gad-fly on the sore places of its conscience. 

On one occasion, while the annual meeting was 
in session at Burlington, N. J., in the midst of the 
solemn silence of the great assembly, the unwel- 
come figure of Benjamin Lay, wrapped in his long 
white overcoat, was seen passing up the aisle. Stop- 
ping midway, he exclaimed, " You slaveholders I 
Why don't you throw off your Quaker coats as I 
do mine, and show yourselves as you are ? " Cast- 

Introduction. 15 

mg off as he spoke his outer garment, he disclosed 
to the astonished assembly a military coat under- 
neath and a sword dangling at his heels. Holding 
io one hand a large book, he drew his sword with 
the other. " In the sight of God/' he cried, '' you 
are as guilty as if you stabbed your slaves to the 
hearty as I do this book ! '' suiting the action to the 
ipord, and piercing a small bladder filled with the 
juice of poke-weed (Phytolacca decandra), which he 
had concealed between the covers, and sprinkling 
as with fresh blood those who sat near him. John 
Woolman makes no mention of this circumstance 
in his Journal, although he was probably present, 
and it must have made a deep impression on his 
aeositive spirit The violence and harshness of 
La/s testimony, however, had nothing in common 
with the tender and sorrowful remonstrances and 
appeals of the former, except the sympathy which 
they both felt for the slave himself.* 

Still later, a descendant of the persecuted French 
Protestants, Anthony Benezet, a man of uncommon 
tenderness of feeling, began to write and speak 

* Lay was well acquainted with Dr. Franklin, who some- 
timet ▼isited him. Among other schemes of reform he enter* 
tained the idea of converting all mankind to Christianity. 
This was to be done by three witnesses, — himself^ Michael 
Lcnrelly and Abel Noble, assisted by Dr. Franklin. But on 
tiieir first meeting at the Doctor's house, the three ** chosen 
* got into a violent controversy on points of doctrine, 
separated in ill-humor. The philosopher, who had been 
aa ^^nfmA listener, advised the three sages to give up the 
project of converting the world until they had learned to 
tolmte each other. 

i6 Introduction* 

against slavery. How far, if at all, he was moved 
thereto by the example of Woolman is not known, 
but it is certain that the latter found in him a steady 
friend and coadjutor in his efforts to awaken the 
slumbering moral sense of his religious brethren. 
The Marquis de Chastellux, author of De la Fkliciti 
Publique^ describes him as a small, eager-faced man, 
full of zeal and activity, constantly engaged in works 
of benevolence, which were by no means confined 
to the blacks. Like Woolman and Lay, he advo- 
cated abstinence from intoxicating spirits. The 
poor French neutrals who were brought to Phila- 
delphia from Nova Scotia, and landed penniless 
and despairing among strangers in tongue and 
religion, found in him a warm and untiring friend, 
through whose aid and sympathy their condition 
was rendered more comfortable than that of their 
fellow-exiles in other colonies.* 

The annual assemblage of the Yearly Meeting in 
1758 at Philadelphia must ever be regarded as one 
of the most important religious convocations in the 
history of the Christian church. The labors of 

* The reader of Evangeline will recall in this connection 
the words of the poet : — 

"In that delightful land which is washed by the Delaware's 
Guarding in sylvan shades the name of Penn the apostle, 
Stands on the banks of its beautilul stream the city be 

There from the troubled sea had Evangeline landed, an exile. 
Finding among the children of Penn a home and a country. 
There old Ren^ Leblanc had died; and when he de- 

Ifitrodmciumm 17 

Wbolman and his few but earnest associates had 
not been in vain. A deep and tender interest had 
been awakened ; and this meeting was looked for- 
ward to with yaried feelings of solicitude by all par* 
ties. An felt that the time had come for some defi- 
nite action ; conservative and reformer stood face 
to &ce in the Valley of Decision. John Woolman, 
of coarse, was present, — a man humble and poor 
in outward appearance, his simple dress of undyed 
homespun doth contrasting strongly with the plain 
but ridi apparel of the representatives of the com- 
merce of the city and of the large slave-stocked 
plantations of the country. Bowed down by the 
weight of his concern for the poor slaves and for 
the well-being and purity of the Society, he sat 
silent during the whole meeting, while other mat- 
ters were under discussion. ^ My mind," he says, 
** was fiiequently clothed with inward prayer ; and I 
could say with David that ' tears were my meat and 
drink, day and night' The case of slave-keeping 
lay heavy upon me ; nor did I find any engage- 
ment to speak directly to any other matter before 

Saw at his side only one of all his hundred descendants. 
Something at least there was in the friendly streets of the 

Something that spake to her heart, and made her no longer 

a stranger; 
And her ear was pleased with the Thee and Thou of the 

For it recalled the past, the old Acadian country, 
Where all men were equal, and all were brothers and sis* 

1 8 Introduction* 

the meeting." When the important subject came 
up for consideration many faithful Friends spoke 
with weight and earnestness. No one openly jus- 
tified slavery as a system, although some expressed 
a concern lest the meeting should go into measures 
calculated to cause uneasiness to many members of 
the Society. It was also urged that Friends should 
wait patiently until the Lord in his own time should 
open a way for the deliverance of the slave. This 
was replied to by John Woolman. " My mind," he 
said, " is led to consider the purity of the Divine 
Being, and the justice of his judgments ; and here- 
in my soul is covered with awfulness. I cannot 
forbear to hint of some cases where people have 
not been treated with the purity of justice, and the 
event has been most lamentable. Many slaves on 
this continent are oppressed, and their cries have 
entered into the ears of the Most High. Such are 
the purity and certainty of his judgments, that he 
cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and 
goodness he hath opened our understandings from 
one time to another, concerning our duty towards 
this people ; and it is not a time for delay. Should 
we now be sensible of what he requires of us, and 
through a respect to the private interest of some 
persons, or through a regard to some friendships 
which do not stand upon an immutable foundation, 
neglect to do our duty in firmness and constancy, 
still waiting for some extraordinary means to bring 
about their deliverance, God may by terrible things 
in righteousness answer us in this matter.'' 

Introduction. 19 


This solemn and weighty appeal was responded 
to by many in the assembly, in a spirit of sympathy 
and unity. Some of the slaveholding members ex- 
pressed their willingness that a strict rule of dis- 
cipline should be adopted against dealing in slaves 
for the future. To this it was answered, that the 
root of the evil would never be reached efifectually 
until a searching inquiry was made into the cir- 
cumstances and motives of such as held slaves. At 
length the truth in a great measure triumphed over 
all opposition ; and, without any public dissent, the 
meeting agreed that the injunction of our Lord and 
Saviour to do to others as we would that others 
should do to us should induce Friends who held 
slaves " to set them at liberty, making a Christian 
provision for them," and four Friends — John Wool- 
man, John Scarborough, Daniel Stanton, and John 
Sykes — were approved of as suitable persons to 
visit and treat with such as kept slaves, within the 
limits of the Meeting. 

This painful and difficult duty was faithfully per- 
ibmied. In that meekness and humility of spirit 
which has nothing in common with the " fear of 
man, which bringeth a snare," the self-denying fol- 
lowers of their Divine Lord and Master " went 
about doing good." In the city of Philadelphia, 
and among the wealthy planters of the country, 
they found occasion often to exercise a great de- 
gree of patience, and to keep a watchful guard over 
their feelings. In his Journal for this important 
period of his life John Woolman says but little of 

20 Introduction, > 

his own services. How arduous and delicate they 
were may be readily understood. The number of 
slaves held by members of the Society was very 
large. Isaac Jackson, in his report of his labors 
among slaveholders in a single Quarterly Meeting, 
states that he visited the owners of more than eleven 
hundred slaves. From the same report may be 
gleaned some hints of the difficulties which pre- 
sented themselves. One elderly man says he has 
well brought up his eleven slaves, and " now they 
must work to maintain him." Another owns it is all 
wrong, but "^ cannot release his slaves ; his tender 
wife under great concern of mind " on accoimt of 
his refusal. A third has fifty slaves, knows it to be 
wrong, but can't see his way clear out of it " Per- 
haps," the report says, " interest dims his vision." 
A fourth is full of "excuses and reasonii^/* 
" Old Jos. Richison has forty, and is determined to 
keep them." Another man has fifty, and "means 
to keep them." Robert Ward "wants to release 
his slaves, but his wife and daughters hold back." 
Another " owns it is wrong, but says he will not 
part with his negroes, — no, not while he lives." 
The far greater number, however, confess the 
wrong of slavery and agree to take measures for 
freeing their slaves.* 

* An incident occurred during this visit of Isaac Jackson 
which impressed him deeply. On the last evening, just as he 
was about to turn homeward, he was told that a member of 
the Society whom he had not seen owned a very old slave 
who was happy and well cared for. It was a case which it 
was thought might well be lefl to take care of itself. Isaac 

Introduction. 2\ 

An extract or two from the Journal at this period 
will serve to show both the nature of the service in 

Jackson, atting in silence, did not feel his mind quite satis- 
fied ; and as the evening wore away, feeling more and more 
cnrciseda lie expressed his uneasiness, when a youi^ son of 
his host eagerly offered to go with him and show him the 
road to the place. The proposal was gladly accepted. On 
introducing the object of their visit, the Friend expressed 
much surprise that any uneasiness should be felt in the case, 
tmc at length consented to sign the form of emancipation, 
siyiag, at the same time, it would make no difference in their 
frlatifwis, as the old man was perfectly happy. At Isaac 
Jackson's request the slave was called in and seated before 
tliem. His form was nearly double, his thin hands were 
propped on his knees, his white head was thrust forward, 
and his keen, restless, inquiring eyes gleamed alternately on 
the stranger and on his master. At length he was informed 
of what bad been done ; that he was no longer a slave, and 
that bis master acknowledged his past services entitled him 
to a maintenance so long as he lived. The old man listened 
in almost breathless wonder, his head slowly sinking on his 
bccaat. After a short pause, he clasped his hands, then 
^reading them high over his hoary head, slowly and rev« 
ercntly exclaimed, " Oh, goody Gody, oh ! " — bringing his 
hands again down on his knees. Then raising them as be- 
fcre, he twice repeated the solemn exclamation, and with 
■trfflmw»g eyes and a voice almost too much choked for 
■Iterance, he continued, " I thought J should die a siave, and 
mom J shall die a fret man I '* 

It b a striking evidence of the divine compensations 
which are sometimes graciously vouchsafed to those who 
Ittve been feuthful to duty, that, on his death-bed this affect- 
ing scene was vividly revived in the mind of Isaac Jackson. 
At dut supreme moment, when all other pictures of time 
were iuling out, that old face, full of solemn joy and devout 
thanksgiving, rose before him, and comforted him as with the 
blcMJug of God. 

22 Introduction. 

which he was engaged and the frame of mind in 
which he accomplished it 

" In the beginning of the 12th month I joined in 
company with my friends, John Sykes and Daniel 
Stanton, in visiting such as had slaves. Some, 
whose hearts were rightly exercised about them, 
appeared to be glad of our visit, but in some places 
our way was more difficult. I often saw the ne- 
cessity of keeping down to that root from whence 
our concern proceeded, and have cause in reverent 
thankfulness humbly to bow down before the Lord 
who was near to me, and preserved my mind in 
calmness under some sharp conflicts, and begat a 
spirit of sympathy and tenderness in me towards 
some who were grievously entangled by the spirit 
of this world." 

" ist month, 1759. — Having found my mind 
drawn to visit some of the more active members of 
society at Philadelphia who had slaves, I met my 
friend John Churchman there by agreement, and we 
continued about a week in the city. We visited some 
that were sick, and some widows and their families ; 
and the other part of the time was mostly employed 
in visiting such as had slaves. It was a time of 
deep exercise ; but looking often to the Lord for 
assistance, he in unspeakable kindness favored us 
with the influence of that spirit which crucifies to 
the greatness and splendor of this world, and en- 
abled us to go through some heavy labors, in which 
we found peace." 

These labors were attended with the blessing of 

Introduction. 23 

the God of the poor and oppressed. Dealing in 
slaves was almost entirely abandoned, and many 
who held slaves set them at liberty. But many 
members still continuing the practice, a more em- 
phatic testimony against it was issued by the Yearly 
Meeting in 1774; and two years after the subor- 
dinate meetings were directed to deny the right of 
membership to such as persisted in holding their feUow- 
mun as property. 

A concern was now felt for the temporal and 
religious welfare of the emancipated slaves and, in 
1779 the Yearly Meeting came to the conclusion 
that some reparation was due from the masters to 
their former slaves for services rendered while in 
the condition of slavery. The following is an ex- 
tract from an epistle on this subject : — 

** We are united in judgment that the state of the 
oppressed people who have been held by any of us, 
or our predecessors, in captivity and slavery, calls 
for a deep inquiry and close examination how far 
we are clear of withholding from them what under 
such an exercise may open to view as their just 
right; and therefore we earnestly and affectionately 
entreat our brethren in religious profession to bring 
this matter home, and that all who have let the op- 
pressed go free may attend to the further openings 
of duty. 

''A tender Christian sympathy appears to be 
awakened in the minds of many who are not in 
religious profession with us, who have seriously 
the oppresnons and disadvantages under 

24 Introduction. 

which those people have long labored ; and whether 
a pious care extended to their offspring is not justly 
due from us to them is a consideration worthy our 
serious aod deep attention." 

Committees to aid and advise the colored people 
were accordingly appointed in the various Monthly 
Meetings. Many former owners of slaves faithfully 
paid the latter for their services, submitting to the 
award and judgment of arbitrators as to what jus- 
tice required at their hands. So deeply had the 
sense of the wrong of slavery sunk into the hearts 
of Friends 1 

J<^n Woolman^ in his Journal for 1769, states, 
that having some years before, as one of the ex- 
ecute's of a will, disposed of the services of a negro 
boy belonging to the estate until he should reach 
the age of thirty years, he became uneasy in respect 
to the transaction, and, although he had himself 
derived no pecuniary benefit from it, and had 
simply acted as the agent of the heirs oi the estate 
to which the boy belonged, he executed a bond, 
binding himself to pay the master of the young 
man for four years and a half of his xmexpired 
term of service. 

The appalling magnitude of the evil against 
which he felt himself especially called to contend 
was painfully manifest to John Woolman. At the 
outset, all about him, in every department of life 
and human activity, in the state and the church, he 
saw evidences of its strength, and of the depth and 
extent to which its roots had wound their way 

Introduction. 25 

among the foundations of society. Yet he seems 
never to have doubted for a moment the power of 
simple truth to eradicate it, nor to have hesitated 
as to his own duty in regard to it There was no 
groping like Samson in the gloom ; no feeling in 
blind wrath and impatience for the pillars of the 
temple of Dagon. " The candle of the Lord shone 
about him/' and his path lay clear and unmistakable 
before him. He believed in the goodness of God 
that leadeth to repentance ; and that love could 
reach the witness for itself in the hearts of all men, 
through all entanglements of custom and every 
barrier of pride and selfishness. No one could 
have a more humble estimate of himself; but as 
be went forth on his errand of mercy he felt the 
Infinite Power behind him, and the consciousness 
that he had known a preparation from that Power 
''to stand as a trumpet through which the Lord 
speaks." The event justified his confidence ; wher- 
ever he went hard hearts were softened, avarice 
and love of power and pride of opinion gave way 
before his testimony of love. 

The New England Yearly Meeting then, as now, 
was held in Newport, on Rhode Island. In the 
year 1760 John Woolman, in the course of a re- 
ligious visit to New England, attended that meeting. 
He saw the horrible traffic in human beings, — the 
slave-ships lying at the wharves of the town, — the 
sellers and buyers of men and women and children 
thronging the market-place. The same abhorrent 

scenes which a few years after stirred the spirit of 


26 Introduction* 

the excellent Hopkins to denounce the slave-trade 
and slavery as hateful in the sight of God to his 
congregation at Newport were enacted in the full 
view and hearing of the annual convocation of 
Friends, many of whom were themselves partakers 
in the shame and wickedness. " Understanding," 
he says, ^' that a large number of slaves had been 
imported from Africa into the town, and were then 
on sale by a member of our Society, my appetite 
failed ; I grew outwardly weak, and had a feeling 
of the condition of Habakkuk : ' When I heard, my 
belly trembled, my lips quivered; I trembled in 
mjrself, that I might rest in the day of trouble.* I 
had many cogitations, and was sorely distressed.'' 
He prepared a memorial to the Legislature, then in 
session, for the signatures of Friends, urging that 
body to take measures to put an end to the impor- 
tation of slaves. His labors in the Yearly Meeting 
appear to have been owned and blessed by the 
Divine Head of the church. The London Epistle 
for 1758, condemning the unrighteous traffic in 
men, was read, and the substance of it embodied 
in the discipline of the meeting ; and the following 
query was adopted, to be answered by the subor- 
dinate meetings: — 

" Are Friends clear of importing negroes, or buy- 
ing them when imported; and do they use those 
well, where they are possessed by inheritance or 
otherwise, endeavoring to train them up in prin- 
ciples of religion ? " 

At the close of the Yearly Meeting, John Wool- 

Introduction. 27 

man requested those members of the Society who 
held slaves to meet with him in the chamber of 
the house for worship, where he expressed his con- 
cern for the well-being of the slaves, and his sense 
of the iniquity of the practice of dealing in or hold^ 
ing them as property. His tender exhortations were 
not lost upon his auditors ; his remarks were kindly 
received, and the gentle and loving spirit in which 
they were offered reached many hearts. 

In 1769, at the suggestion of the Rhode Island 
Quarterly Meeting, the Yearly Meeting expressed 
its sense of the wrongfulness of holding slaves, and 
appointed a large committee to visit those members 
who were implicated in the practice. The next 
year this committee reported that they had com- 
pleted their service, '^and that their visits mostly 
seemed to be kindly accepted. Some Friends mani- 
fested a disposition to set such at liberty as were 
suitable ; some others, not having so clear a sight 
of such an unreasonable servitude as could be 
desired, were unwilling to comply with the advice 
given them at present, yet seemed willing to take 
it into consideration; a few others manifested a 
disposition to keep them in continued bondage." 

It was stated in the Epistle to London Yearly 
Meeting of the year 1772, that a few Friends had 
freed their slaves from bondage, but that others 
''have been so reluctant thereto that they have 
bem disowned for not complying with the advice 
of this meeting.'' 

In 1773 the following minute was made: ''It 

28 Introduction. 

is our sense and judgment that truth not only 
requires the young of capacity and ability, but like- 
wise the aged and impotent, and also all in a state 
of infancy and nonage, among Friends, to be dis- 
charged and set free from a state of slavery, that 
we do no more claim property in the human race, 
as we do in the brutes that perish." 

In 1782 no slaves were known to be held in the 
New England Yearly Meeting. The next year it 
was recommended to the subordinate meetings to 
appoint committees to effect a proper and just 
settlement between the manumitted slaves and their 
former Masters^ for their fast services. In 1784 
it was concluded by the Yearly Meeting that any 
former slaveholder who refused to comply with 
the award of these committees should, after due 
care and labor with him, be disowned from the 
Society. This was effectual; settlements without 
disownment were made to the satisfaction of all 
parties, and every case was disposed of previous 
to the year 1787. 

In the New York Yearly Meeting, slave-trading 
was prohibited about the middle of the last cen- 
tury. In 1 77 1, in consequence of an epistle from 
the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, a committee was 
appointed to visit those who held slaves, and to 
advise with them in relation to emancipation. In 
1776 it was made a disciplinary offence to buy, 
sell, or hold slaves upon any condition. In 1784 
but one slave was to be found in the limits of the 
meeting. In the same year, by answers from the 

Introduction, 29 

several subordinate meetings, it was ascertained 
that an equitable settlement for past services had 
been effected between the emancipated negroes 
and their masters in all save three cases. 

In the Virginia Yearly Meeting slavery had its 
strongest hold. Its members^ living in the midst 
of slaveholding communities, were necessarily ex- 
posed to influences adverse to emancipation. I 
have already alluded to the epistle addressed to 
them by William Edmondson, and to the labors 
of John Woolman while travelling among them. 
In 1757 the Virginia Yearly Meeting condemned 
the foreign slave-trade. In 1764 it enjoined upon 
its members the duty of kindness towards their 
servants, of educating them, and carefully pro- 
viding for their food and clothing. Four years 
after, its members were strictly prohibited from 
purchasing any more slaves. In 1773 it earnestly 
recommended the immediate manumission of all 
slaves held in bondage, after the females had 
reached eighteen and the males twenty-one years 
of age. At the same time it was advised that 
committees should be appointed for the purpose 
of instructing the emancipated persons in the prin- 
ciples of morality and religion, and for advising 
and aiding them in their temporal concerns. 

I quote a single paragraph from the advice sent 
down to the subordinate meetings, as a beautifid 
manifestation of the fruits of true repentance : — 

** It is the solid sense of this meeting, that we 
of the present generation are under strong obli- 

30 Introduction. 

gations to express our love and concern for the 
offspring of those people who by their labors have 
greatly contributed towards the cultivation of these 
colonies under the afflictive disadvantage of endur- 
ing a hard bondage ; and many amongst us are en- 
joying the benefit of their toil." 

In 1784 the different Quarterly Meetings having 
reported that many still held slaves, notwithstand- 
ing the advice and entreaties of their friends, the 
Yearly Meeting directed, that where endeavors to 
convince those offenders of their error proved in- 
effectual, the Monthly Meetings should proceed 
to disown them. We have no means of ascertain- 
ing the precise number of those actually disowned 
for slaveholding in the Virginia Yearly Meeting, 
but it is well known to have been very small. In 
almost all cases the care and assiduous labors of 
those who had the welfare of the Society and of 
humanity at heart were successful in inducing of- 
fenders to manumit their slaves, and confess their 
error in resisting the wishes of their friends, and 
bringing reproach upon the cause of truth. 

So ended slavery in the Society of Friends. For 
three quarters of a century the advice put forth in 
the meetings of the Society at stated intervals, that 
Friends should be " careful to maintain their testi 
mony against slavery " has been adhered to so far 
as owning, or even hiring, a slave is concerned. 
Apart from its first-fruits of emancipation, there is 
a perennial value in the example exhibited of the 
power of truth, urged patiently and in earnest love. 

Introduction. 31 

to overcome the difficulties in the way of the eradi- 
cation of an evil system, strengthened by long 
habit, entangled with all the complex relations of 
society, and closely allied with the love of power, 
the pride of family, and the lust of gain. 

The influence of the life and labors of John 
Woolman has by no means been confined to the 
religious society of which he was a member. It 
may be traced wherever a step in the direction of 
emancipation has been taken in this country or in 
Europe. During the war of the Revolution many 
of the noblemen and officers connected with the 
French anny became, as their journals abundantly 
testify, deeply interested in the Society of Friends, 
and took back to France with them something of 
hs growing andslavery sentiment Especially was 
this the case with Jean Pierre Brissot, the thinker 
and statesman of the Girondists, whose intimacy 
with Warner Mifflin, a friend and disciple of Wool- 
man, so profoundly affected his whole after life. 
He became the leader of the "Friends of the 
Blacks," and carried with him to the scaffold a pro- 
finrnd hatred of slavery. To his efforts may be 
traced the proclamation of Emancipation in Hayti 
fay the commissioners of the French convention, 
and indirectly the subsequent uprising of the blacks 
and their successful establishment of a free govern- 
ment The same influence reached Thomas Clark- 
son and stimulated his early efforts for the abolition 
of the slave-trade; and in after life the volume 
of the New Jersey Quaker was the cherished com- 

32 Introduction. 

patiion of himself and his amiable helpmate. It 
was in a degree, at least, the. influence of Stephen 
Grellet and William Allen, men deeply imbued with 
the spirit of Woolman, and upon whom it might al- 
most be said his mantle had fallen, that drew the 
attention of Alexander I. of Russia to the impor- 
tance of taking measures for the abolition of serf- 
dom, an object the accomplishment of which the 
wars during his reign prevented, but which, left 
as a legacy of duty, has been peaceably effected 
by his namesake, Alexander II. In the history of 
Emancipation in our own country evidences of the 
same original impulse of humanity are not wanting. 
In 1790 memorials against slavery from the So- 
ciety of Friends were laid before the first Congress 
of the United States. Not content with clearing 
their own skirts of the evil, the Friends of that day 
took an active part in the formation of the abolition 
societies of New England, New York, Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, and Virginia. Jacob Lindley, 
Elisha Tyson, Warner Mifflin, James Pemberton, 
and other leading Friends, were known throughout 
the country as unflinching champions of Freedom. 
One of the earliest of the class known as modem 
abolitionists was Benjamin Lundy, a pupil in the 
school of Woolman, through whom William Lloyd 
Garrison became interested in the great work to 
which his life has been so faithfully and nobly de- 
voted. Looking back to the humble workshop at 
Mount Holly from the stand-point of the Procla- 
mation of President Lincoln, how has the seed 
sown in weakness been raised up in power J 

IntroducHofu 33 

The larger portion of Woolman's writings are de- 
TDted to the subjects of slavery, uncompensated 
labor, and the excessive toil and suffering of the 
many to support the luxury of the few. The argu- 
ment running through them is searching, and in its 
conclusions uncompromising, but a tender love for 
die wrong-doer as well as the sufferer underlies alL 
They aim to convince the judgment and reach the 
heart without awakening prejudice and passion. To 
the slaveholders of his time they must have seemed 
like the voice of conscience speaking to them in the 
cool of the day. One feels, in reading them, the ten- 
derness and humility of a nature redeemed from all 
pride of opinion and self-righteousness, sinking itself 
out of sight, and intent only upon rendering smaller 
die sum of human sorrow and sin by drawing men 
nearer to God and to each other. The style is that 
of a man unlettered, but with natural refinement 
and delicate sense of fitness, the purity of whose 
heart enters into his language. There is no attempt 
at fine writing, not a word or phrase for effect ; it is 
the simple unadorned diction of one to whom the 
temptations of the pen seem to have been wholly 
nnknown. He wrote as he believed from an in- 
ward spiritual prompting ; and with all his un- 
affected humility he evidently felt that his work 
was done in the clear radiance of 

^ The light which never was on land or sea." 

It was not for him to outrun his Guide, or, as Sir 
Thomas Browne expresses it, to *' order the finger 

a* c 

34 Introduction. 

of the Almighty to his will and pleasure, but to sit 
still under the soft showers of Providence." Very 
wise are these essays, but their wisdom is not alto- 
gether that of this world. They lead one away 
from all the jealousies, strifes, and competitions of 
luxury, fashion, and gain, out of the close air of 
parties and sects, into a region of calmness^ •— 

" The haunt 
Of every gentle wind whose breath can teach 
The wild to love tranquillity," — 

a quiet habitation where all things are ordered in 
what he calls " the pure reason " ; a rest from all 
self-seeking, and where no man's interest or activity 
conflicts with that of another. Beauty they certainly 
have, but it is not that which the rules of art recog- 
nize ; a certain indefinable purity pervades them, 
making one sensible, as he reads, of a sweetness as 
of violets. " The secret of Woolman's purity of 
style," said Dr. Channing, "is that his eye was 
single, and that conscience dictated his words." 

Of course we are not to look to the writings of 
such a man for tricks of rhetoric, the free play of 
imagination, or the unscrupulousness of epigram 
and antithesis. He wrote as he lived, conscious 
of " the great Task-master's eye." With the wise 
heathen Marcus Aurelius Antoninus he had learned 
to " wipe out imaginations, to check desire, and let 
the spirit that is the gift of God to every man, as 
his guardian and guide, bear rule." 

I have thought it inexpedient to swell the bulk 
of this volume with the entire writings appended to 

Introduction. 35 

die old edition of the Journal, inasmuch as they 
mainly refer to a system which happily on this con* 
tinent is no longer a question at issue. I content 
myself with throwing together a few passages from 
them which touch subjects of present interest; 
and in the Appendix at the close of this volume will 
be (bund one of the last written and longest of his 
papers, — *• A Word of Remembrance and Caution 
to the Rich." 

'' Selfish men may possess the earth : it is the 
meek alone who inherit it from the Heavenly 
Father free from all defilements and perplexities 
of unrighteousness." 

"Whoever rightly advocates the cause of some^ 
Ibereby promotes the good of the whole." 

" If one suffer by the unfaithfulness of another, 
the mind, the most noble part of him that occasions 
the discord, is thereby alienated from its true happi- 

^ There is harmony in the several parts of the 
Divine work in the hearts of men. He who leads 
them to cease from those gainful employments 
which are carried on in the wisdom which is from 
beneath delivers also from the desire of worldly 
greatness, and reconciles to a life so plain that a 
little suffices." 

** After days and n^hts of drought, when the sky 
hath grown dark, and clouds like lakes of water 
have hung over our heads, I have at times beheld 
with awfulness the vehement lightning accompany- 
ing the blessings of the rain, a messenger from 

36 Introduction* 

Him to remind us of our duty in a right use of his 

'^ The marks of famine in a land appear as hum- 
bling admonitions from God, instructing us by gen- 
tle chastisements, that We may remember that the 
outward supply of life is a gift from our Heavenly 
Father, and that we should not venture to use or 
apply that gift in a way contrary to pure reason." 

" Oppression in the extreme appears terrible ; 
but oppression in more refined appearances re- 
mains to be oppression. To labor for a perfect 
redemption from the spirit of it is the great busi- 
ness of the whole family of Jesus Christ in this 

" In the obedience of faith we die to self-love, 
and, our life being * hid with Christ in God,' our 
hearts are enlarged towards mankind universally ; 
but many in striving to get treasures have departed 
from this true light of life and stumbled on the dark 
mountains. That purity of life which proceeds 
from faithfulness in following the pure spirit of 
truth, that state in which our minds are devoted to 
serve God, and all our wants are bounded by his 
wisdom, has often been opened to me as a place 
of retirement for the children of the light, in which 
we may be separated from that which disordereth 
and confuseth the affairs of society, and may have 
a testimony for our innocence in the hearts of those 
who behold us." 

" There is a principle which is pure, placed in the 
human mind, which in different places and ages 

Introduction. 37 

hath had different names ; it is, however, pure, and 
proceeds from God. It is deep and inward^ con- 
fined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any^ 
when the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whom- 
soever this takes root and grows, they become 

^The necessity of an inward stillness hath ap- 
peared clear to my mind. In true silence strength 
is renewed, and the mind is weaned from all things, 
save' as they may be enjoyed in the Divine will ; and 
a lowliness in outward living, opposite to worldly 
honor, becomes truly acceptable to us. In the 
desire after outward gain the mind is prevented 
from a perfect attention to the voice of Christ ; yet 
being weaned from all things, except as they may 
be enjoyed in the Divine will, the pure light shines 
into the souL Where the fruits of the spirit which 
is of this world are brought forth by many who 
profess to be led by the Spirit of truth, and cloudi- 
ness is felt to be gathering over the visible church, 
the sincere in heart, who abide in true stillness, 
and are exercised therein before the Lord for his 
name's sake, have knowledge of Christ in the fel- 
lowship of his sufferings ; and inward thankfulness 
is felt at times, that through Divine love our own 
wisdom is cast out, and that forward, active part in 
OS is subjected, which would rise and do something 
without the pure leadings of the spirit of Christ 

^ WbQe aught remains in us contrary to a perfect 
lesignation of our wills, it is like a seal to the book 
wherein is written ' that good and acceptable and 

38 Introduction. 

perfect will of God ' concerning us. But when our 
minds entirely yield to Christ, that silence is known 
which followeth the opening of the last of the seals. 
In this silence we learn to abide in the Divine will, 
and there feel that we have no cause to promote 
except that alone in which the light of life directs 


Occasionally, in " Considerations on the Keeping 
of Negroes/' the intense interest of his subject gives 
his language something of passionate elevation, as 
in the following extract : — 

"When trade is carried on productive of much 
misery, and they who suffer by it are many thou- 
sand miles off, the danger is the greater of not lay* 
ing their sufferings to heart In procuring slaves 
on the coast of Africa, many children are stolen 
privately ; wars are encouraged among the negroes, 
but all is at a great distance. Many groans 
arise from dying men which we hear not Many 
cries are uttered by widows and fatherless children 
which reach not our ears. Many cheeks are wet 
with tears, and faces sad with unutterable grief, 
which we see not Cruel tyranny is encouraged. 
The hands of robbers are strengthened. 

"Were we, for the term of one year only, to be 
eye-witnesses of what passeth in getting these 
slaves; were the blood that is there shed to be 
sprinkled on our garments; were the poor cap- 
tives, bound with thongs, and heavily laden with 
elephants* teeth, to pass before our eyes on their 
way to the sea ; were their bitter lamentations, day 

Introduction* 39 

after d^, to ring in our ears, and their mournful 
cries in the night to hinder us from sleeping, -^ were 
we to behold and hear these things, what pious 
heart would not be deeply affected with sorrow I " 

** It is good for those who live in fulness to cul* 
tivate tenderness of heart, and to improve eveiy 
opportunity of being acquainted with the hardships 
and fatigues of those who labor for their living, 
and thus to think seriously with themselves : Am 
I influenced by true charity in fixing all my de- 
mands? Have I no desire to support myself in 
expensive customs, because my acquaintances live 
in such customs ? 

^ If a wealthy man, on serious reflection, finds a 
witness in his own conscience that he indulges 
himself in some expensive habits, which might be 
omitted, consistently with the true design of living, 
and which, yrert he to change places with those 
who occupy his estate, he would desire to be dis- 
continued by them ; whoever is thus awakened will 
necessarily find the injunction binding, 'Do ye 
even so to them.' Divine Love imposeth no rigor- 
ous or unreasonable commands, but graciously 
points out the spirit of brotherhood and the way 
to happiness, in attaining which it is necessary 
fliat we relinquish all that is selfish. 

** Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all 
his creatures ; his tender mercies are over all his 
works, and so £u: as true love influences our minds, 
so far we become interested in his workmanship, 
and feel a desire to make use of every opportunity 

40 Introduction. 

to lessen the distresses of the afflicted, and to in- 
crease the happiness of the creation. Here we 
have a prospect of one common interest from 
which our own is inseparable, so that to turn all 
we possess into the channel of universal love be- 
comes the business of our lives." 

His liberality and freedom from " all narrowness 
as to sects and opinions " are manifest in the fol- 
lowing passages : — 

" Men who sincerely apply their minds to true 
virtue, and find an inward support from above, by 
which all vicious inclinations are mad^ subject ; 
who love God sincerely, and prefer the real good 
of mankind universally to their own private inter- 
est, — though these, through the strength of educa- 
tion and tradition, may remain under some great 
speculative errors, it would be uncharitable to say 
that therefore God rejects them. The knowledge 
and goodness of Him who creates, supports, and 
gives understanding to all men, are superior to the 
various states and circumstances of his creatures, 
which to us appear the most difficult. Idolatry in- 
deed is wickedness ; but it is the thing, not the 
name, which is so. Real idolatry is to pay that 
adoration to a creature which is known to be due 
only to the true God, 

" He who professeth to believe in one Almighty 
Creator, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and is yet 
more intent on the honors, profits, and friendships 
of the world than he is, in singleness of heart, to 
stand faithful to the Christian religion, is in the 

Introduction. 41 

diannel of idolatry ; while the Gentile, who, not- 
widistanding some mistaken opinions, is estab- 
lished in the true principle of virtue, and humbly 
adores an Almighty Power, may be of the number 
diat fear God and work righteousness." 

Nowhere has what is called the "Labor Ques- 
tiony" which is now agitating the world, been dis- 
cussed more wisely and with a broader humanity 
than in these essays. His sympathies were with 
the poor man, yet the rich too are his brethren, 
and he warns them in love and pity of the conse- 
quences of luxury and oppression : — 

•* Every degree of luxuiy, every demand for 
money inconsistent with the Divine order, hath 
connection with unnecessary labors." 

<<To treasure up wealth for another generation, 
by means of the immoderate labor of those who in 
some measure depend upon us, is doing evil at 
present, without knowing that wealth thus gathered 
may not be applied to evil purposes when we are 
gone. To labor hard, or cause others to do so, 
that we may live conformably to customs which 
our Redeemer discountenanced by his example, 
and which are contrary to Divine order, is to ma- 
nure a soil for propagating an evil seed in the 

^When house is joined to house, and field laid 
to fields until there is no place, and the poor are 
thereby straitened, though this is done by bargain 
and purchase, yet so far as it stands distinguished 
from universal love, so bx that woe predicted by 


4d IntrcducHon. 

the pmphet will accompany theu* pioceedings. As 
He who first founded the earth was then the true 
proprietor of it, so he still remains, and though he 
hath given it to the children of men, so that mul- 
titudes of people have had their sustenance from 
it while they continued here, yet lie hath never 
alienated it, but his right is as good as at first ; nor 
Can any apply the increase of their possessions con-* 
traiy to universal kxve, nor dispose of lands in a 
way which they know tends to exah some by 
oppressing others, without being justly chai^e2d>le 
with usurpation." 

It will not lessen the value of the foregoing ex- 
tracts in the minds of the true disciples of oar 
Divine Lord, that they are manifestly not wxvtten 
to subserve the interests of a narrow sectarian- 
ism. They might have been penned by Fdn^lon 
in his time, or Robertson in ours, dealing as they 
do with Christian practice, — the life of Christ 
manifesting itself in purity and goodness, -—rather 
than with the dogmas of thedlogy. The underlying 
thought of all is simple obedience to the Divine 
word in the souL ^ Not every one that saith unto 
me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father in 
heaven/' In the preface to an English edition, 
publislied some years ago, it is intimated that ob- 
jections had been raised to the Journal on the 
ground that it had so little to say of doctrines and 
so much of duties. One may easily understand 
that this objection might bave been forcibly felt by 

Introduction, 43 

die slav^eholding religious professors of his day, 
and that it may stiU be entertained by a class of 
persons who, like tbe Cabalists, attach a certain 
mystical significance to words, names, and titles, 
and who, in consequence, question the piety whicb 
hesitates to flatter the Divine ear by ** vain repeti- 
tions " and formal enumeration of sacred attributes, 
dignities, and offices. Every instinct of his ten- 
derly sensitive nature $hrank from the wordy irreve- 
rence of noisy profession« His very silence is sig- 
nificant The husks of emptiness rustle in eveiy 
wind; the full com in the ear holds up its golden fruit 
noiselessly to the Lord of the harvest John Wool- 
man's faith, like the Apostle's, is manifested by his 
labors, standing not in words but in the demonstra- 
tion of the spirit, -** a faith that works by love to the 
purifying of the heart The entire outcome of this 
£uth was love m^fested in reverent waiting upon 
God, and in that untiring benevolence, that quiet 
but deep enthusiasm of humanity, which made his 
daily service to his fellow-creatures a hymn of 
praise to the common Father. 

However the intellect may criticise such a life, 
whatever defects it may present to the trained eyes 
of theological adepts, the heart has no questions to 
ask, but at once owns and reveres it Shall we 
regret that he who had so entered into fellowship 
of suffering with the Divine One, walking with him 
wider the cross, and dying daily to self, gave to 
die faith and hope that were in him this testimony 
of a life, ratiier than any form of words, however 

44 Introduction. 

sound? A true life is at once interpreter and 
proof of the gospel, and does more to establish its 
truth in the hearts of men than all the " Evidences" 
and "jBodies of Divinity " which have perplexed 
the world with more doubts than they solved. 
Shall we venture to account it a defect in his 
Christian character, that, under an abiding sense of 
the goodness and long-suffering of God, he wrought 
his work in gentleness and compassion, with the 
delicate tenderness which comes of a deep sympa- 
thy with the trials and weaknesses of our nature, 
never allowing himself to indulge in heat or vio- 
lence, persuading rather than threatening ? Did he 
overestimate that immeasurable Love, the manifes- 
tation of which in his own heart so reached the 
hearts of others, revealing everywhere unsuspected 
fountains of feeling and secret longings after purity, 
as the rod of the diviner detects sveet, cool water- 
springs under the parched surfaces of a thirsty 
land? And, looking at the purity, wisdom, and 
sweetness of his life, who shall say that his faith in 
the teaching of the Holy Spirit — the interior guide 
and light — was a mistaken one? Surely it was 
no illusion by which his feet were so guided that all 
who saw him felt that, like Enoch, he walked with 
God. " Without the actual inspiration of the Spirit 
of Grace, the iuward teacher and soul of our souls,'* 
says Fdn^lon, " we could neither do, will, nor believe 
good. We must silence every creature, we must 
silence ourselves also, to hear in a profound stillness 
of the soul this inexpressible voice of Christ The 

Introduction. 45 

oacward word of the gospel itself without this liv* 
ing efficacious woid within would be but an empty 
sound." • " Thou Lord," says Augustine in his 
Meditations, '^ communicatest thyself to all : thou 
teachest the heart without words ; thou speakest 
to it without articulate sounds." Never was this 
divine principle more fully tested than by John 
Woolman ; and the result is seen in a life of such 
rare excellence that the world is still better and 
richer for its sake, and the fragrance of it comes 
down to us through a century, still sweet and pre- 

It will be noted throughout the Journal and 
essays that in his life-long testimony against wrong 
he never lost sight of the oneness of humanity, its 
common responsibility, its fellowship of suffering 
and communion of sin. Few have ever had so 
profound a conviction of the truth of the Apostle's 
declaration that no man liveth and no man dieth to 
himself. Sin was not to him an isolated fact, the 
responsibility of .which began and ended with the 
individual transgressor ; he saw it as a part of a 
vast network and entanglement, and traced the 
lines of influence converging upon it in the under- 
world of causation. Hence the wrong and discord 
which pained him called out pity, rather than indig- 

* ** However, I am sure that there is a common spirit that 
plays within us, and that is the Spirit of God. Whoever 
feels not the warm gale and gentle ventilation of this Spirit, I 
dare not say he lives ; for truly without this to me there is 
no beat under the tropic, nor any light though I dwelt in the 
body of the sun." — Sir Thomas Brownis Religio Medici, 

46 Introduction. 

nation. The first inquirjr which they awakened 
was addressed to his own conscience. How £sur 
am I in thought, word, custom, responsible lor 
this ? Have none of my fellow-<3reatures an equir 
table right to any part which is called mine ? Have 
the gifts and possessions received by me from 
others been conveyed in a way free from ail un«- 
righteousness? '< Through abiding in the law of 
Christ/' he says, '^ we feel a tenderness towards our 
fellow-creatures, and a concern so to walk that our 
conduct may not be the means of strengthening 
them in error." He constantly recurs to the impor- 
tance of a right example in those who profess to be 
led by the spirit of Christ, and who attempt to labor 
in his name for the benefit of their fellow-men. If 
such neglect or refuse themselves to act rightly^ 
they can but '^ entangle the minds of others and 
draw a veil over the face of righteousness.^* His eyes 
Were anointed to see the common pohit of depar^ 
ture from the Divine harmony, and that all the 
Varied growths of evil had their underlying root in 
human selfishness. He saw that every sin of the 
individual was shared in greater or less degree by 
all whose lives were opposed to the Divine order, 
and that pride, luxury, and avarice in one class 
gave motive and temptation to the grosser forms of 
evil in another. How gentle, and yet how searching, 
are his rebukes of self-complacent respectability, 
holding it responsible, in spite of all its decent 
seemings, for much of the depravity which it con- 
demned with Pharisaical harshness 1 In his '^ Con- 

Introduction. 47 

saderations on the True Harmcmy of Mankind/' bet 
dwells with great earnestness upon the importance 
of possessing '^the mind of Christ/' which removes 
from the heart the desire of superiority and worldly 
bonoTSy incites attention to the Divine Counsellor 
and awakens an ardent engagement to promote die 
happiness of alL ^ This stated he says, '^ in which 
eoery motion from the selfish sfirit yieldeth to purtt 
iope^ J may acknon^eJgti with gratitude to the Father 
ofMerdeSy is q/ten opened brfore me as a pearl to seek 

** At times iAgsi I have felt true love open my 
heart towards my fellow-creatures, and have beea 
engaged in weighty conversation in the cause of 
nghleousnesSy the instructions I have received 
under these exercises in regard to the true use of 
the outward gifts of God have made deep and 
lasting impressions on my mind. I have beheld 
bow the desire to provide wealth and to uphold a 
delicate life has grievously entangled many, and 
has been like a snare to their offspring; and 
though some have been affected with a sense of 
their difficulties, and have appeared desirous at 
times to be helped out of them, yet for want of 
abiding under the humbling power of truth they 
have continued in these entanglements ; expensive 
living in parents and children hath called for a 
large supply, and in answering this call the * faces 
of the poor ' have been ground away, and made 
thin through hard dealing. 

''There is balm; there is a physician 1 and O what 


48 Introduction. 

longings do I feel that we may embrace the means 
appointed for our healing ; may know that removed 
which now ministers cause for the cries of many to 
ascend to Heaven against their oppressors; and 
that thus we may see the true harmony restored ! — 
a restoration of that which was lost at Babel, and 
which will be, as the prophet expresses it, * the re- 
turning of a pure language 1 ' " 

It is easy to conceive how unwelcome this clear 
spiritual insight must have been to the superficial 
professors of his time busy in tithing mint, anise, 
and cummin. There must have been something 
awful in the presence of one endowed with the gift 
of looking through all the forms, shows, and pre- 
tensions of society, and detecting with certainty the 
germs of evil hidden beneath them ; a man gentle 
and full of compassion, clothed in '* the irresistible 
might of meekness^'' and yet so wise in spiritual 

" Bearing a touchstone in his hand 
And testing all things in the land 
By his unerring spell. 

'* Quick births of transmutation smote 
The fair to foul, the foul to fair ; 
Purple nor ermine did hci spare, 
Nor scorn the dusty coat." 

In bringing to a close this paper, the preparation 
of which has been to me a labor of love, I am 
not unmindful of the wide difference between the 
appreciation of a pure and true life and the living 
of it, and am willing to own that in delineating a 

Introduction, 49 

character of such moral and spiritual symmetry I 
have felt something like rebuke from my own words. 
I have been awed and solemnized by the presence 
of a serene and beautiful spirit redeemed of the 
Lord from all selfishness^ and I have been made 
thankful for the ability to recognize and the dispo- 
sition to love him. I leave the book with its read- 
ers. They may possibly make large deductions 
from my estimate of the author ; they may not see 
the importance of all his self-denying testimonies ; 
they may question some of his scruples, and smile 
over passages of childlike simplicity;— -but I be- 
lieve they will all agree in thanking me for intro- 
ducing them to the Journal of John Woolman. 

J. G. W. 

ibiBBUiT, aodi lit ina» 1871. 



■ ■ > 


1720- 1742. 

Hb Birth and Parentage. — Some Account of the Opera- 
tioBft of Divine Grace on his Mind in his Youth. — His 
fiist Appearance in the Ministry. — And his Considera- 
tiona^ while Young, on the Keeping of Slaves. 

I HAVE often feit a motion of love to leave 
some hints in writing of my experience of the 
goodness of God, and now, in the tfairty-uxth year 
of my age, I heffn this work. 

I was bom in Northampton, in Burlington 
Coimty, West Jersey, in the year 1730. Before 
I was seven years old I began to be acquainted 
with the operations of Divine love. Through the 
care of my parents, I was taught to read nearly as 
soon as I was capable of it ; and as I went from 
school one day, I remember that while my compan- 
ions were playing by the way, I went forward out of 
sight, and, sitting down, I read the twenty-second 
diapter of Revelation : *' He showed me a pure 
river of water of life, dear as aystal, proceeding 
out of the thsone of God and of the Lamb, &c" 

$2 The Journal of yohn Woolman. 

In reading it, my mind was drawn to seek after 
that pure habitation which I then believed God 
had prepared for his servants. The place where I 
sat, and the sweetness that attended my mind, 
remain fresh in my memory. This, and the like 
' gracious visitations, had such an effect upon me 
that when boys used ill language it troubled me ; 
and, through the continued mercies of God, I was 
preserved from that evil 

The pious instructions of my parents were often 
fresh in my mind, when I happened to be among 
wicked children, and were of use to me. Having 
a large family of children, they used frequently, on 
first-days, after meeting, to set us one after another 
to read the Holy Scriptures, or some religious books, 
the rest sitting by without much conversation ; I 
have since often thought it was a good practice. 
From what I had read and heard, I believed there 
had been, in past ages, people who walked in upright- 
ness before God in a degree exceeding any that I 
knew or heard of now living : and the apprehen- 
sion of there being less steadiness and firmness 
amongst people in the present age often troubled 
me while I was a child. 

I may here mention a remarkable circumstance 
that occurred in my childhood. On going to a 
neighbor's house, I saw on the way a robin sitting 
on her nest, and as I came near she went off; but 
having young ones, she flew about, and with many 
cries expressed her concern for them. I stood and 
threw stones at her, and one striking her she fell 

The Journal of John Woolman, 53 

down dead. At first I was pleased with the ex- 
plott, but after a few minutes was seized with hor- 
ror, at having, in a sportive way, killed an innocent 
creature while she was careful for her young. I 
beheld her lying dead, and thought those young 
ones, for which she was so careful, must now perish 
for want of their dam to nourish them. After some 
painful considerations on the subject, I climbed up 
the tree, took all the young birds, and killed them, 
supposing that better than to leave them to pine 
away and die miserably. In this case I believed 
that Scripture proverb was fulfilled, "The tender 
mercies of the wicked are cruel." I then went on 
my errand, and for some hours could think of little 
else but the cruelties I had committed, and was 
mach troubled. Thus He whose tender mercies 
are over all his works hath placed a principle in 
the human mind, which incites to exercise good- 
ness towards every living creature ; and this being 
singly attended to, people become tender-hearted 
and sympathizing ; but when frequently and totally 
rejected, the mind becomes shut up in a contrary 

About the twelfUi year of my age, my father 
being abroad, my mother reproved me for some 
misconduct, to which I made an undutiful reply. 
The next first-day, as I was with my father returning 
ftota meeting, he told me that he understood I had 
behaved amiss to my mother, and advised me to be 
more careful in future. I knew myself blamable, 
and in shame and confusion remained silent Being 

54 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

thus awakened to a sense of siy wickedness^ I lek 
remorse in my mind, and on getting home I retired 
and prayed to the Lord to fcurgive me, and I do not 
remember that I ever afterwards spoke unhand* 
Bomely to either of my parents, however foolish in 
some other things. 

Havii^ attained the age of sixteen years, I began 
to love wanton company ; and though I was pre- 
served from profane language or scandalous con- 
duct, 3ret I perceived a plant in me which {nroduced 
much wild grapes ; my merciful Father did not, how- 
ever, forsake me utterly, but at times, through his 
grace, I was brought seriously to consider my ways ; 
and the sight of my backsUdings affected me witb 
sorrow, yet for want of rightly attending* to the re- 
proofs of instruction, vanity was added to vanity, 
and repentance to repentance. Upon the whole, 
my mind became more and more alienated from 
the truth, and I hastened toward destruction. 
While I meditate on the gulf towards which I 
traveUed, and reflect on my youthful disobedience 
for these things I weep, mine eye junmetb down 
with water. 

Advancing in age, the number of my acquaint- 
ance increased, and thereby my way grew more 
difficult. Though I had found comfort in reading 
the Holy Scriptures and thmking on heavenly things, 
I was now estranged therefrom. I knew I was 
going from the flock of Christ and had no resolu- 
tion to return, hence serious reflections were un- 
easy to 'me> and youthful vanities and diversions 

The Jvumal cf John Woolman. 55 

ivere my greatest pleasure. In tiiis road I found 
nany tike myself and ire associated in that ivUch 
is adverse to true £iendsliq). 

Ib this swift race it pleased Ood to visit me witb 
sicknesSy so tiiat I doubted of recovery ; then did 
darkness horroi^ and aBiazement with AiU force 
seize me, even when mypain and distress of body 
were very great I tbouf^t it would have been 
better for me never to have had being, than to see 
Ae day whidi I now saw. I was filled with con- 
iosiony and in great affliction, both of mind and 
body, I lay and bewailed mysel£ I had not con- 
fidence to lift i^ my cries to God, whom I had thus 
offended ; but in a deep sense of my great folly I 
was hombled before him. At length that word 
which is as a fire and a hammer broke and dis- 
solved my rebellious heart ; my cries were put up 
in contrition ; and in the multitude of his mercies I 
iband inward relish and a close engagement that if 
he was pleased to restore my health I might walk 
faombly before him. 

After my recovery this exercise remained with 
me a considerable time, but by degrees giving way 
to yoothfiii vanities, and associating with wanton 
yoQDg people, I lost ground. The Lord had been 
very gracious, and spoke peace to me in the time 
of my distress, and I now most ungratefully turned 
agun to folly ; at times I felt sharp reproof, but I 
did not get low enough to cry for help. I was not 
so hardy as to commit things scandalous, bat to 
oceed in vanity and to promote mirth was my 

S6 The Journal of John WoolmanJ 

chief study. Still I retained a love and esteem for 
pious people, and their company brought an awe 
upon me. My dear parents several times ad- 
monished me in the fear of the Lord, and their 
admonition entered into my heart and had a good 
effect for a season ; but not getting deep enough to 
pray rightly, the tempter, when he came, found en- 
trance. Once having spent a part of the day in 
wantonness, when I went to bed at night there lay 
in a window near my bed a Bible, which I opened, 
and first cast my eye on the text, " We lie down in 
our shame, and our confusion covereth us." This I 
knew to be my case, and meeting with so imex- 
pected a reproof I was somewhat affected with it, 
and went to bed under remorse of conscience, 
which I soon cast off again. 

Thus time passed on ; my heart was replenished 
with mirth and wantonness, while pleasing scenes 
of vanity were presented to my imagination, till I 
attained the age of eighteen years, near which time 
I felt the judgments of God in my soul, like a con- 
suming fire, and looking over my past life the pros- 
pect was moving. I was often sad, and longed to 
be delivered from those vanities ; then again my 
heart was strongly inclined to them, and there was 
in me a sore conflict At times I turned to folly, 
and then again sorrow and confusion took hold of 
me. In a while I resob^ed totally to leave off some 
of my vanities, but there was a secret reserve in 
my heart of the more refined part of them, and I 
was not low enough to find true peace. Thus for 

The youmal of yohn Woolman* 57 

some months I had great troubles ; my will was 
unsubjected, which rendered my labors fruitless. 
At length, through the merciful continuance of 
heavenly visitations, I was made to bow down in 
spirit before the Lord. One evening I had spent 
some time in reading a pious author, and walking 
out alone I humbly prayed to the Lord for his 
help, that I might be delivered from all those vani- 
ties which so ensnared me. Thus being brought 
low, he helped me, and as I learned to bear the 
cross I felt refreshment to come from his presence, 
but not keeping in that strength which gave victory 
I lost ground again, the sense of which greatly 
aiffected me. I sought deserts and lonely places, 
and there with tears did confess my sins to God 
and humbly craved his help. And I may say with 
reverence, he was near to me in my troubles, and 
in those times of humiliation opened my ear to dis- 
cipline. I was now led to look seriously at the 
means by which I was drawn from the pure truth, 
and learned that if I would live such a life as the 
£uthful servants of God lived, I must not go into 
company as heretofore in my own will, but all the 
cravings of sense must be governed by a Divine 
principle. In times of sorrow and abasement these 
instructions were sealed upon me, and I felt the 
power of Christ prevail over selfish desires, so that 
I was preserved in a good degree of steadiness, and 
being young, and believing at that time that a single 
life was best for me, I was strengthened to keep 
from such company as had often been a snare to me. 


5 8 The youmal of JvAn Wooltnan* 

I kept steadily to meetings ; spent first-day after- 
noons chiefly in reading the Scriptures and other 
good books, and was early convinced in my mind 
that true religion consisted in an inward life, where- 
in the heart doth love and reverence God the Cre- 
ator, and learns to exercise true justice and good- 
ness, not only toward all men, but also toward the 
brute creatures ; that, as the mind was moved by 
an inward principle to love God as an invisible, in- 
comprehensible Being, so, by the same principle, it 
was moved to love him in all his manifestations in 
the visible world j that, as by his breath the flame 
of life was kindled in all animal sensible creatures, 
to say we love God as unseen, and at the same time 
exercise cruelty toward the least creature moving 
by his life, or by life derived from him, was a con- 
tradiction in itself. I found no narrowness respect- 
ing sects and opinions, but believed that sincere, 
upright-hearted people, in every society, who truly 
love God, were accepted of him. 

As I lived under the cross, and simply followed 
the opening of truth, my mind, from day to day, was 
more enlightened, my former acquaintance were 
left to judge of me as they would, for I found it 
safest for me to live in private, and keep these 
things sealed up in my own breast While I silently 
ponder on that change wrought in me, I find no 
language equal to convey to another a clear idea of 
it I looked upon the works of God in this visible 
creation, and an awfiilness covered me. My heart 
was tender and often contrite, and universal love to 

The youmal of yohn Woohnan. 

my fellow-creatures increased in me. This will be 
understood by such as have trodden in the same 
path. Some glances of real beauty may be seen 
in their faces who dwell in true meekness. There 
b a harmony in the sound of that voice to which 
Divine love gives utterance, and some appearance 
of right order in their temper and conduct whose 
passions are regulated \ yet these do not fully show 
forth that inward life to those who have not felt it; 
this white stone and new name is only known rightly 
by such as receive it. 

Now, though I had been thus strengthened to 
bear the cross, I still found mjrself in great danger, 
having many weaknesses attending me, and strong 
temptations to wrestle with ; in the feeling whereof 
I frequently withdrew into private places, and often 
with tears besought the Lord to help me, and his 
gracious ear was open to my cry. 

All this time I lived with my parents, and wrought 
on the plantation ; and having had schooling pretty 
well for a planter, I used to improve myself in win- 
ter evenings, and other leisure times. Being now 
in the twenty-first year of my age, with my father's 
consent I engaged with a man, in much business as 
a shop-keeper and baker, to tend shop and keep 
books. At home I had lived retired ; and now 
having a prospect of being much in the way of com- 
pamy, I felt frequent and fervent cries in my heart 
to God, the Father of Mercies, that he would pre- 
serve me from all taint and corruption ; that, in this 
more public employment, I might serve him, my 

6o The youfiial of John Woolman. 

gracious Redeemer, in that humility and self-denial 
which I had in a small degree exercised in a more 
private life. 

The man who employed me furnished a shop in 
Mount Holly, about five miles from my father's 
house, and six from his own, and there I lived 
alone and tended his shop. Shortly after my settle- 
ment here I was visited by several young people, 
my former acquaintance, who supposed that vanities 
would be as agreeable to me now as even At these 
times I cried to the Lord in secret for wisdom and 
strength ; for I felt myself encompassed with diffi- 
culties, and had fresh occasion to bewail the follies 
of times past, in contracting a familiarity with liber- 
tine people; and as I had now left my father's 
house outwardly, I found my Heavenly Father to 
be merciful to me beyond what I can express. 

By day I was much amongst people, and had 
many trials to go through ; but in the evenings I 
was mostly alone, and I may with thankfulness 
acknowledge, that in those times the spirit of sup- 
plication was often poured upon me ; under which 
I was frequently exercised, and felt my strength 

After a while, my former acquaintance gave over 
expecting me as one of their company, and I be- 
gan to be known to some whose conversation was 
helpful to me. And now, as I had experienced the 
love of God, through Jesus Christ, to redeem me 
from many pollutions, and to be a succor to me 
through a sea of conflicts, with which no person 

The y<mmal of yohn Woolman. 6 1 

was fully acquainted, and as my heart was often 
enlarged in this heavenly principle, I felt a tender 
compassion for the youth who remained entangled 
in snares like those which had entangled me. This 
love and tenderness increased, and my mind was 
strongly engaged for the good of my fellow-creatures. 
I went to meetings in an awful frame of mind, and 
endeavored to be inwardly acquainted with the lan- 
guage of the true Shepherd. One day, being under 
a strong exercise of spirit, I stood up and said some 
words in a meeting ; but not keeping close to the 
Divine opening, I said more than was required of 
me. Being soon sensible of my error, I was afflicted 
in mind some weeks, without any light or comfort, 
even to that degree that I could not take satisfac- 
tion in anything. I remembered God, and was 
troubled, and in the depth of my distress he had 
pity upon me, and sent the Comforter. I then felt 
forgiveness for my offence ; my mind became calm 
and quiet, and I was truly thankful to my gracious 
Redeemer for his mercies. About six weeks after 
this, feeling the spring of Divine love opened, and a 
concern to speak, I said a few words in a meeting, 
in which I found peace. Being thus humbled and 
disciplined under the cross, my understanding be- 
came more strengthened to distinguish the pure 
spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart, and 
which taught me to wait in silence sometimes many 
weeks together, until I felt that rise which prepares 
the creature to stand like a trumpet, through which 
the Lord speaks to his flock. 

62 The youmal of yohn Wooltnan^ 

From an inward purifying, and steadfast abiding 
under it springs a lively operative desire for the 
good of others. All the faithful are not called to 
the public ministry; but whoever are, are called 
to minister of that which they have tasted and 
bandied spiritually. The outward modes of wor- 
ship are various ; but whenever any are true min- 
isters of Jesus Christ, it is from the operation of 
bis Spirit upon their hearts, first purifying them, 
and thus giving them a just sense of the conditions 
of others. This truth was early fixed in my mind, 
and I was taught to watch the pure opening, and to 
take heed lest, while I was standing to speak, my 
own will should get uppermost, and cause me to 
utter words from worldly wisdom, and depart from 
the channel of the true gospel ministry. 

In the management of my outward affairs, I may 
say with thankfulness, I found truth to be my sup- 
port ; and I was respected in my master's famifyi 
who came to live in Mount Holly within two years 
after my going there. 

In a few months after I came here, my master 
bought several Scotchmen servants, from on board a 
vessel, and brought them to Mount Holly to sell, 
one of whom was taken sick and died. In the lat- 
ter part of his sickness, being delirious, he used to 
curse and swear most sorrowfully; and the next 
night after his burial I was left to sleep alone in 
the chamber where he died. I perceived in me a 
timorousness ; I knew, however, I had not injured 
the man, but assisted in taking care of him accord* 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. 63 

ing to my capacity* I was not free to ask any one 
on that occasion to sleep with me. Nature was 
ieeble; but every trial was a fresh incitement to 
give myself up wholly to the service of God, for I 
lound no helper like him in times of trouble. 

About the twenty-third year of my age, I had 
many fresh and heavenly openings, in respect to the 
care and providence of the Almighty over his crea- 
tures in general, and over man as the most noble 
amongst those which are visible. And being clearly 
convinced in my judgment that to place my whole 
trust in God was best for me, I felt renewed en- 
gagiements that in all things I might act on an in- 
ward principle of virtue, and pursue worldly busi- 
ness no frirther than as truth opened my way. 

About the time called Christmas I observed 
many people, both in town and from the country, 
resorting to public-houses, and spending their time 
in drinking and vain sports, tending to corrupt one 
another; on which account I was much troubled. 
At one house in particular there was much disor- 
der ; and I believed it was a duty incumbent on me 
to speak to the master of that house. I considered 
I was young, and that several elderly friends in 
town had opportunity to see these things; but 
though I would gladly have been excused, yet I 
could not feel my mind clear. 

The exerdse was heavy ; and as I was reading 
what the Almighty said to Ezekiel, respecting his 
duty as a watchman, the matter was set home more 
dearly. With prayers and tears I besought the 

64 The youmal of yohn Woclman* 

Lord for his assistance, and He, in loving-kindness, 
gave me a resigned heart. At a suitable opportu- 
nity I went to the public-house ; and seeing the man 
amongst much company, I called him aside, and in 
the fear and dread of the Almighty expressed to 
him what rested on my mind. He took it kindly, 
and afterwards showed more regard to me than be- 
fore. In a few years afterwards he died, middle- 
aged ; and I often thought that had I neglected 
my duty in that case it would have given me great 
trouble ; and I was humbly thankful to my gracious 
Father, who had supported me herein. 

My employer, having a negro woman,* sold her, 
and desired me to write a bill of sale, the man being 
waiting who bought her. The thing was sudden ; 
and though I felt uneasy at the thoughts of writing 
an instrument of slavery for one of my fellow-crea- 
tures, yet I remembered that I was hired by the 
year, that it was my master who directed me to do 
it, and that it was an elderly man, a member of our 

* The number of slaves in New Jersey at the commence- 
ment of Woolman*s labors for emancipation was undoubt- 
edly large. As late as 1800 there were 12,442. Perth 
Amboy was a place of deposit for the newly imported Afri- 
cans, and long barracks were erected for their accommoda- 
tion. In 1734, when Woolman was a lad of fourteen, an insur- 
rection took place, which had for its object the massacre of 
the masters, and an alliance with the Indians and French. 
Some years later a negro convicted of crime was burned 
alive at Perth Amboy. An immense number of negroes, 
gathered from all the neighboring townships, were compelled 
to be witnesses of the slow torment of the victim. 

The youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 6$ 

Society, who bought her ; so through weakness I 
gave way, and wrote it ; but at the executing of it 
I was so afflicted in my mind, that I said before my 
master and the Friend that I believed slave-keeping 
to be a practice inconsistent with the Christian re- 
ligion. This, in some degree, abated my uneasi- 
ness ; yet as often as I reflected seriously upon it 
I thought I should have been clearer if I had 
desired to be excused from it, as a thing against my 
conscience ; for such it was. Some time after this 
a young man of our Society spoke to me to write 
a conveyance of a slave to him, he having lately 
taken a negro into his house. I told him I was not 
easy to write it ; for, though many of our meeting 
and in other places kept slaves, I still believed the 
practice was not right, and desired to be excused 
from the writing. I spoke to him in good-will; 
and he told me that keeping slaves was not alto- 
gether agreeable to his mind ; but that the slave 
being a gift made to his wife he had accepted her. 

66 The youmal of yohn Wooltnan* 


1743 ->74»- 

His first Journey, on a Religious Visit, in East Jersey.— 
Thoughts on Merchandising, and Learning a Trade. — 
Second Journey into Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia^ 
and North Carolina. * Third Journey through part of 
West and East Jersey. — Fourth Journey through New 
York and Long Island, to New England. — And his fifth 
Journey to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Lower 
Counties on Delaware. 

MY esteemed friend Abraham Farrington be- 
ing about to make a visit to Friends on 
the eastern side of this province, and having no 
companion, he proposed to me to go with him ; and 
after a conference with some elderly Friends I 
agreed to go. We set out on the 5th of ninth month, 
1 743 ; had an evening meeting at a tavern in Bruns- 
wick, a town in which none of our Society dwelt ; 
the room was full, and the people quiet Thence 
tQ Amboy, and had an evening meeting in the 
court-house, to which came many people, amongst 
whom were several members of Assembly, they being 
in town on the public affairs of the province. In 
both these meetings my ancient companion was 
engaged to preach largely in the love of the gospel. 
Thence we went to Woodbridge, Rahway, and Plain- 
field, and had six or seven meetings in places where 
Friends* meetings are not usually held, chiefly at- 

The youmal of yokn Woolman. 6y 

tended by Presbjrterians, and my beloved com- 
panion was frequently strengthened to publish the 
word of life amongst them* As for me, I was often 
silent through the meetings, and when I spake it 
was with much care, that I might speak only what 
truth opened. My mind was often tender, and I 
learned some profitable lessons. We were out about 
two weeks. 

Near this time, being on some outward business 
in which several families were concerned, and which 
was attended with difficulties, some things relating 
thereto not being clearly stated, nor rightly under* 
stood by all, there arose some heat in the minds of 
the parties, and one valuable friend got off his 
watch. I had a great regard for him, and felt a 
strong inclination, after matters were settled, to 
qpeak to him concerning his conduct in that case ] 
bot being a youth, and he far advanced in age 
and experience, my way appeared difficult; after 
some days' deliberation, and inward seeking to the 
Loxd for assistance, I was made subject, so that I 
expressed what lay upon me in a way which be* 
came my youth and his years ; and though it was a 
hard task to me it was well taken, and I believe 
was useful to us both. 

Having now been several years with my em- 
pk>yer, and he doing less in merchandise than 
heretofore, I was thoughtftil about some other way 
of business, perceiving merchandise to be attended 
with much cumber in the way of trading in these 

68 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

My mind, through the power of truth, was in a 
good degree weaned from the desire of outward 
greatness, and I was learning to be content with 
real conveniences, that were not costly, so that a 
way of life free from much entanglement appeared 
best for me, though the income might be small. I 
had several offers of business that appeared profit- 
able, but I did not see my way clear to accept of 
them, believing they would be attended with more 
outward care and cumber than was required of me 
to engage in. I saw that an humble man, with the 
blessing of the Lord,, might live on a little, and 
that where the heart was set on greatness, success 
in business did not satisfy the craving; but that 
commonly with an increase of wealth the desire of 
wealth increased. There was a care on my mind 
so to pass my time that nothing might hinder me 
from the most steady attention to the voice of the 
true Shepherd. 

My employer, though now a retailer of goods, 
was by trade a tailor, and kept a servant-man at 
that business ; and I began to think about learn- 
ing the trade, expecting that if I should settle I 
might by this trade and a little retailing of goods 
get a living in a plain way, without the load of 
great business. I mentioned it to my employer, 
and we soon agreed on terms, and when I had 
leisure from the af&irs of merchandise I worked 
with his man. I believed the hand of Providence 
pointed out this business for me, and I was taught 
to be content with it, though I felt at times a dis- 

'The journal of yohn Woolman. 69 

position that would have sought for something 
greater ; but through the revelation of Jesus Christ 
I had seen the happiness of humility, and there was 
an earnest desire in me to enter deeply into it ; at 
times this desire arose to a degree of fervent sup- 
plication, wherein my soul was so environed with 
heavenly light and consolation that things were 
made easy to me which had been otherwise. 

After some time my employer's wife died; she 
was a virtuous woman, and generally beloved of 
her neighbors. Soon after this he left shop-keeping, 
and we parted. I then wrought at my trade as a 
tailor ; careftilly attended meetings for worship and 
discipline ; and found an enlargement; of gospel 
love in my mind, and therein a concern to visit 
Friends in some of the back setdements of Pennsyl- 
vania and Virginia. Being thoughtftil about a com- 
panion, I expressed it to my beloved friend, Isaac 
Andrews, who told me that he had drawings to the 
same places, and also to go through Maryland, Vir« 
ginia, and Carolina. After a considerable time, and 
several conferences with him, I felt easy to accom- 
pany him throughout, if way opened for it I 
opened the case in our Monthly Meeting, and, 
Friends expressing their unity therewith, we ob- 
tained certificates to travel as companions, ^ he 
from Haddonfield, and I from Burlington. 

We left our province on the 12th of third month, 
1746, and had several meetings in the upper part 
of Chester County, and near Lancaster ; in some of 
which the love of Christ prevailed, uniting us to- 

70 The youmal of John Woolman. 

gether in his service. We then crossed the river 
Susquehanna, and had several meetings in a new 
settlement, called the Red Lands. It is the poorer 
sort of people that commonly begin to improve 
remote deserts; with a small stock they have 
houses to build, lands to clear and fence, com to 
raise, clothes to provide, and children to educate, 
so that Friends who visit such may well sympathize 
with them in their hardships in the wilderness ; and 
though the best entertainment that they can give 
may seem coarse to some who are used to cities or 
old settled places, it becomes the disciples of Christ 
to be therewith content. Our hearts were some- 
times enlarged in the love of our Heavenly Father 
amongst these people, and the sweet influence of 
his Spirit supported us through some difficulties : 
to him be the praise. 

We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, 
and Shanando, and had meetings, some of which 
were comfortable and edifying. From Shanando, 
we set off in the afternoon for the old settlements 
of Friends in Virginia ; the first night we, with our 
guide, lodged in the woods, our horses feeding near 
us ; but he being poorly provided with a horse, and 
we young, and having good horses, were free the 
next day to part with him* In two days after we 
reached our friend John Cheagle's, in Virginia. 
We took the meetings in our way through Virginia ; 
were in some degree baptized into a feeling sense 
of the conditions of the people, and our exercise in 
general was more painful in these old settlements 

The ybumal of ybhn Woolman. 71 

than it had been amongst the back inhabitants ; 
yet through the goodness of our Heavenly Father 
the well of living waters was at times opened to our 
encouragement, and the refreshment of the sincere- 
hearted. We went on to Perquimans, in North 
Carolina; had several laige meetings, and found 
some openness in diose parts, and a hopeful appear- 
ance amongst the young people. Afterwards we 
turned again to Virginia, and attended most of the 
meetings which we had not been at before, laboring 
amongst Friends in the love of Jesus Christ, as 
ability was given; thence went to the mountains, 
up James River to a new settlement, and had sev- 
eral meetings amongst the people, some of whom 
had lately joined in membership with our Soci- 
ety. In our journeying to and fro, we found some 
honest-hearted Friends, who appeared to be con- 
cerned for the cause of truth among a backsliding 

From Viiginia, we crossed over the river Potomac, 
at Hoe's Ferry, and made a general visit to the meet- 
ings of Friends on the western shore of Maryland, 
and were at their Quarterly Meeting. We had some 
hard labor amongst them, endeavoring to discharge 
our duty honestly as way opened, in the love of 
truth. Thence, taking sundry meetings in our way, 
we passed towards home, which, through the favor 
of Divine Providence, we reached the i6th of 
aizth month, 1746 ; and I may say, that through 
the assistance of the Holy Spirit, which mortifies 
aelfish desures, my companion and I travelled in 

'jz The youmal of yohn Woohnan. 

hannony, and parted in the nearness of true broth- 
erly love. 

Two things were remarkable to me in this jour- 
ney : first, in regard to my entertainment When I 
ate, drank, and lodged free-cost with people who 
lived in ease on the hard labor of their slaves I felt 
uneasy ; and as my mind was inward to the Lord, 
I found this uneasiness return upon me, at times, 
through the whole visit. Where the masters bore a 
\ good share of the burden, and lived frugally, so that 
i their servants were well provided for, and their labor 
• moderate, I felt more easy ; but where they lived in 
a costly way, and laid heavy burdens on their slaves, 
my exercise was often great, and I frequently had 
conversation with them in private concerning it. 
Secondly, this trade of importing slaves from their 
native country being much encouraged amongst 
them, and the white people and their children so 
generally living without much labor, was frequently 
the subject of my serious thoughts. I saw in these 
southern provinces so many vices and corruptions, 
increased by this trade and this way of life, that it 
appeared to me as a dark gloominess hanging over 
the land ; and though now many willingly run into 
it, yet in future the consequence will be grievous 
to posterity. I express it as it hath appeared to me, 
not once, nor twice, but as a matter fixed on my 

SoQn after my return home I felt an increasing 
concern for Friends on our sea-coast ; and on the 
8th of eighth month, 1746, I left home with the 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 73 

unity of Friends, and in company with my beloved 
friend and neighbor Peter Andrews, brother to my 
companion before mentioned, and visited them in 
their meetings generally about Salem, Cape May, 
Great and Little Egg Harbor; we had meetings 
also at Barnagat, Manahockin, and Mane Squan, 
and so to the Yearly Meeting at Shrewsbury. 
Through the goodness of the Lord way was opened, 
and the strength of Divine love was sometimes felt 
in our assemblies, to the comfort and help of those 
who were rightly concerned before him. We were 
out twenty-two days, and rode, by computation, 
three hundred and forty miles. At Shrewsbury 
Yearly Meeting we met with our dear friends Mi- 
chael Lightfoot and Abraham Farrington, who had 
good service there. 

The winter following died my eldest sister, Eliza- 
beth Woolman, of the small-pox, aged thirty-one 

Of late I found drawings in my mind to visit 
Friends in New England, and having an opportunity 
of joining in company with my beloved friend Peter 
Andrews, we obtained certificates from our Monthly 
Meeting, and set forward on the i6th of third month, 
1747. We reached the Yearly Meeting at Long 
Island, at which were our friends, Samuel Not- 
tingham from England, John Griffith, Jane Hos- 
kins, and Elizabeth Hudson from Pennsylvania, 
and Jacob Andrews from Chesterfield, several of 
whom were favored in their public exercise ; and, 
through the goodness of the Lord, we had some 


74 The youmal of yohn Woolman, 

edifying meetings. After this my companion and I 
visited Friends on Long Island ; and through the 
mercies of God we were helped in the work. 

Besides going to the settled meetings of Friends, 
we were at a general meeting at Setawket, chiefly 
made up of other societies ; we had also a meeting 
at Oyster Bay in a dwelling-house, at which were 
many people. At the former there was not much said 
by way of testimony, but it was, I believe, a good 
meeting ; at the latter, through the springing up of 
living waters, it was a day to be thankfully remem- 
bered. Having visited the island, we went over to 
the main, taking meetings in our way, to Oblong, 
Nine-partners, and New Milford. In these back 
settlements we met with several people who, through 
the immediate workings of the Spirit of Christ on 
their minds, were drawn from the vanities of the 
world to an inward acquaintance with him. They 
were educated in the way of the Presbyterians. A 
considerable number of the youth, members of that 
society, used often to spend their time together in 
merriment, but some of the principal young men 
of the company, being visited by the powerful work- 
ings of the Spirit of Christ, and thereby led humbly 
to take up his cross, could no longer join in those 
vanities. As these stood steadfast to that inward 
convincement, they were made a blessing to some 
of their former companions ; so that through the 
power of truth several were brought into a close 
exercise concerning the eternal well-being of their 
souls. These young people continued for a time to 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. 75 

frequent their public worship ; and, besides that, 
had meetiiigs of their own, which meetings were 
aiHuie allowed by their preacher, who sometimes met 
with them ; but in time their judgment in matters 
of religion disagreeing with some of the articles of 
the Presbyterians their meetings were disapproved 
by that society ; and such of them as stood firm to 
their duty, as it was inwardly manifested, had many 
difficulties to go through. In a while their meet- 
ings were dropped ; some of them returned to the 
Presbyterians, and others joined to our religious 

I had conversation with some of the latter to my 
help and edification, and believe several of them 
are acquainted with the nature of that worship 
which is performed in spirit and in truth. Amos 
Powel, a friend from Long Island, accompanied 
me through Connecticut, which is chiefly inhabited 
by Presbyterians, who were generally civil to us. 
After three days' riding, we came amonpt Friends 
in the colony of Rhode Island, and visited them in 
and about Newport, Dartmouth, and generally in 
those parts; we then went to Boston, and pro- 
ceeded eastward as far as Dover. Not far from 
thence we met our friend Thomas Gawthrop, from 
England, who was then on a visit to these prov- 
inces. From Newport we sailed to Nantucket; 
were there nearly a week ; and from thence came 
over to Dartmouth. Having finished our visit in 
diese parts, we crossed the Sound from New Lon- 
don to Long Island, and taking some meetings on 

j6 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

the island proceeded towards home, which we 
reached the 13th of seventh month, 1747, having 
rode about fifteen hundred miles, and sailed about 
one hundred and fifty. 

In this journey, I may say in general, we were 
sometimes in much weakness, and labored under 
discouragements, and at other times, through the 
renewed manifestations of Divine love, we had sea- 
sons of refreshment wherein the power of truth pre- 
vailed. We were taught by renewed experience to 
labor for an inward stillness ; at no time to seek 
for words, but to live in the spirit of truth, and utter 
that to the people which truth opened in us. My 
beloved companion and I belonged both to one 
meeting, came forth in the ministry near the same 
time, and were inwardly united in the work. He 
was about thirteen years older than I, bore the 
heaviest burden, and was an instrument of the 
greatest use. 

Finding a concern to visit Friends in the lower 
counties of Delaware, and on the eastern shore of 
Maryland, and having an opportunity to join with 
my well-beloved ancient friend, John Sykes, we 
obtained certificates, and set off the 7th of eighth 
month, 1748, were at the meetings of Friends 
in the lower counties, attended the Yearly Meeting 
at Little Creek, and made a visit to most of the 
meetings on the eastern shore, and so home by the 
way of Nottingham. We were abroad about six 
weeks, and rode, by computation, about five hun- 
dred and fifty miles. 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. J J 

Our ezerdse at times was heavy, but through the 
goodness of the Lord we were often refreshed, and 
I may say by experience "he is a stronghold in 
the day of trouble." Though our Society in these 
parts appeared to me to be in a declining con- 
dition, yet I believe the Lord hath a people 
amongst them who labor to serve him uprightly, 
but they have many difficulties to encounter. 

78 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

1749- 1756. 

His Marriage. — The Death of his Father. — His Journeys 
into the upper part of New Jersey, and afterwards into 
Pennsylvania. — Considerations on keeping Slaves, and 
Visits to the Families of Friends at several times and 
places. — An Epistle from the General Meeting. — His 
journey to Long Island. — Considerations on Trading and 
on the Use of Spirituous Liquors and Costly Apparel. — 
Letter to a Friend. 

ABOUT this time, believing it good for me to 
settle, and thinking seriously about a com- 
panion, my heart was turned to the Lord with de- 
sires that he would give me wisdom to proceed 
therein agreeably to his will, and he was pleased 
to give me a well-inclined damsel, Sarah Ellis, to 
whom I was married the i8th of eighth month, 

In the fall of the year 1750 died my father, 
Samuel Woolman, of a fever, aged about sixty years. 
In his lifetime he manifested much care for us his 
children, that in our youth we might learn to fear 
the Lord ; and often endeavored to imprint in our 
minds the true principles of virtue, and particularly 
to cherish in us a spirit of tenderness, not only to- 
wards poor people, but also towards all creatures of 
which we had the command. 

After my return from Carolina in 1746, 1 made 

The journal of yohn Woolman. 79 

some observations on keeping slaves, which some 
time before his decease I showed to him ; he pe« 
msed the manuscript, proposed a few alterations, and 
appeared well satisfied that I found a concern on 
that account In his last sickness, as I was watch- 
ing with him one night, he being so far spent that 
there was no expectation of his recovery, though he 
had the perfect use of his understanding, he asked 
me concerning the manuscript, and whether I ex- 
pected soon to proceed to take the advice of friends 
in publishing it ? After some further conversation 
thereon, he said, '^ I have all along been deeply 
affected with the oppression of the poor negroes ; 
and now, at last, my concern for them is as great 
as ever," 

By his direction I had written his will in a time 
of health, and that night he desired me to read it to 
him, which I did ; and he said it was agreeable to 
his mind. He then made mention of his end, 
which he believed was neai ; and signified that 
though he was sensible of many imperfections in the 
course of his life, yet his experience of the power 
of truth, and of the love and goodness of God from 
time to time, even till now, was such that he had 
no doubt that on leaving this life he should enter 
into one more happy. 

The next day his sister Elizabeth came to see 
him, and told him of the decease of their sister 
Anne, who died a few days before ; he then said, 
"I reckon Sister Anne was free to leave this world ? " 
Elizabeth said she was. He then said, '' I also am 

8o The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

free to leave it " j and being in great weakness of 
body said, " I hope I shall shortly go to rest." He 
continued in a weighty frame of mind, and was sen- 
sible till near the last. 

Second of ninth month, 1751. — Feeling drawings 
in my mind to visit Friends at the Great Meadows, 
in the upper part of West Jersey, with the unity of 
our Monthly Meeting, I went there, and had some 
searching laborious exercise amongst Friends in 
those parts, and found inward peace therein. 

Ninth month, 1753. — In company with my well- 
esteemed friend, John Sykes, and with the unity of 
Friends, I travelled about two weeks, visiting Friends 
in Buck's County. We labored in the love of the 
gospel, according to the measure received; and 
through the mercies of Him who is strength to the 
poor who trust in him, we found satisfaction in our 
visit. In the next winter, way opening to visit 
Friends' families within the compass of our Monthly 
Meeting, partly by the labors of two Friends from 
Pennsylvania, I joined in some part of the work, 
having had a desire some time that it might go for- 
ward amongst us. 

About this time, a person at some distance lying 
sick, his brother came to me to write his wilL I 
knew he had slaves, and, asking his brother, was 
told he intended to leave them as slaves to his chil- 
dren. As writing is a profitable employ, and as 
offending sober people was disagreeable to my in- 
clination, I was straitened in my mind ; but as I 
looked to the Lord, he inclined my heart to his tes- 

The ydumal of yohn Woolman. 8i 

timony. I told the man that I believed the practice 
of continuing slavery to this people was not right, 
and that I had a scruple in my mind against doing 
writings of that kind ; that though many in our So- 
ciety kept them as slaves, still I was not easy to be 
concerned in it, and desired to be excused from 
going to write the will. I spake to him in the fear 
of the Lord, and he made no reply to what I said, 
but went away ; he also had some concerns in the 
practice^ and I thought he was displeased with me. 
In this case I had fresh confirmation that acting 
contrary to present outward interest, from a motive 
of Divine love and in regard to truth and right- 
eousness, and thereby incurring the resentments 
of people, opens the way to a treasure better than 
silver, and to a friendship exceeding the friend- 
ship of men. 

The manuscript before mentioned having laid 
by me several years, the publication of it rested 
weightily upon me, and this year I offered it to the 
revisal of my friends^ who, having examined and 
made some small alterations in it, directed a num- 
ber of copies thereof td be published and dis- 
persed amongst members of our Society.* 

In the year 1754 I found my mind drawn to 
join in a visit to Friends' families belonging to 
Chesterfield Monthly Meeting, and having the 
approbation of our own, I went to their Monthly 
Meeting in order to confer with Friends, and see 

* This pamphlet bears the imprint of Benjamin Franklin, 


4» » 

82 The Journal of yohn Woolman, 

if way opened for it. I had conference with some 
of their members, the proposal having been opened 
before in their meeting, and one Friend agreed to 
join with me as a companion for a beginning ; but 
when meeting was ended, I felt great distress of 
mind, and doubted what way to take, or whether 
to go home and wait for greater clearness. I kept 
my distress secret, and going with a friend to his 
house, my desires were to the great Shepherd for 
his heavenly instruction. In the morning I felt 
easy to proceed on the visit, though very low in my 
mind. As mine eye was turned to the I-ord, wait- 
ing in families in deep reverence before him, he 
was pleased graciously to afford help, so that we 
had many comfortable opportunities, and it ap- 
peared as a fresh visitation to some young people. 
I spent several weeks this winter in the service, 
part of which time was employed near home. And 
again in the following winter I was several weeks 
in the same service; some part of the time at 
Shrewsbury, in company with my beloved friend, 
John Sykes; and I have cause humbly to acknowl- 
edge that through the goodness of the Lord our 
hearts were at times enlarged in his love, and 
strength was given to go through the trials which, 
in the course of our visit, attended us. 

From a disagreement between the powers of 
England and France, it was now a time of trouble 
on this continent, and an epistle to Friends went 
forth from our general spring meeting, which I 
thought good to give a place in this Journal. 

The youmal of John Woolman. 83 

Ah Epistle from our general Spring Meeting of ministers and 
eiders for Pennsylvania and New Jersey ^ held at PhUadeU 
pkia^ from the 29M of the third month to the 1st of the 
fourth month inclusive^ 1755* 


Dear Friends, — In an humble sense of Divine 
goodness, and the gracious continuation of God's 
love to his people, we tenderly salute you, and are 
at this time therein engaged in mind, that all of us 
who profess the truth, as held forth and published 
by our worthy predecessors in this latter age of the 
world, may keep near to that Life which is the light 
of men, and be strengthened to hold fast the pro- 
fession of our faith without wavering, that our trust 
may not be in man, but in the Lord alone, who 
ruleth in the army of heaven and in the kingdoms 
of men, before whom the earth is '' as the dust of 
the balance, and her inhabitants as grasshoppers.'* 
(Isa. xL 22.) 

Being convinced that the gracious design of the 
Almighty in sending his Son into the world was to 
repair the breach made by disobedience, to finish 
sin and transgression, that his kingdom might come, 
and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, 
we have found it to be our duty to cease from those 
national contests which are productive of misery 
and bloodshed, and submit our cause to him, the 
Most High, whose tender love to his children ex- 
ceeds the most warm affections of natural parents, 
and who hath promised to his seed throughout the 
earth, as to one individual, ''I will never leave 

84 The youmal of yohn Woolman, 

thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii. 5.) And we, 
through the gracious dealings of the Lord our God, 
have had experience of that work which is carried 
on, not by earthly might, nor by power, but by my 
Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Zech. iv. 6.) By 
which operation that spiritual kingdom is set up, 
which is to subdue and break in pieces all king- 
doms that oppose it, and shall stand forever. In 
a deep sense thereof, and of the safety, stability, 
and peace that are in it, we are desirous that all 
who profess the truth may be inwardly acquainted 
with it, and thereby be qualified to conduct our- 
selves in all parts of our life as becomes our 
peaceable profession; and we trust as there is a 
faithful continuance to depend wholly upon the 
almighty arm, from one generation to another, the 
peaceable kingdom will gradually be extended 
" from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends 
of the earth " (Zech. ix. 10), to the completion of 
those prophecies already begun, that " nation shall 
not lift up a sword against nation, nor learn war 
any more." (Isa. ii. 4. Micah iv. 3.) 

And, dearly beloved friends, seeing that we have 
these promises, and believe that God is beginning 
to fulfil them, let us constantly endeavor to have 
our minds sufficiently disentangled from the sur- 
feiting cares of this life, and redeemed from the 
love of the world, that no earthly possessions nor 
enjoyments may bias our judgments, or turn us 
from that resignation and entire trust in God to 
which his blessing is most surely annexed; then 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. 85 

may we say, ''Our Redeemer is mighty, he will 
plead our cause for us." (Jer. L 34.) And if, for 
the further promoting of his most gracious pur- 
poses in the earth, he should give us to taste of 
that bitter cup of which his faithful ones have 
often partaken, O that we might be rightly pre- 
pared to receive itl 

And now, dear friends, with respect to the com- 
motions and stirrings of the powers of the earth at 
this time near us, we are desirous that none of us 
may be moved thereat, but repose ourselves in the 
munition of that rock which all these shakings 
shall not move, even in the knowledge and feeling 
of the eternal power of God, keeping us subjectly 
given up to his heavenly will, and feeling it daily 
to mortify that which remains in any of us which is 
of this world ; for the worldly part in any is the 
changeable part, and that is up and down, full and 
empty, joyful and sorrowful, as things go well or ill 
in this world. For as the truth is but one, and 
many are made partakers of its spirit, so the world 
is but one, and many are made partakers of the 
spirit of it ; and so many as do partake of it, so 
many will be straitened and perplexed with it 
But they who are single to the truth, waiting daily 
to feel the life and virtue of it in their hearts, 
shall rejoice in the midst of adversity, and have 
to experience with the prophet, that, "although 
the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be 
in the vines ; the labor of the olive shall fail, and 
the fields shall yield no meat ; the flock shall be 

86 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd 
in the stalls ; yet will they rejoice in the Lord, and 
joy in the God of their salvation." (Hab. iii. 17, 

If, contrary to this, we profess the truth, and, not 
living under the power and influence of it, are pro- 
ducing fruits disagreeable to the purity thereof, and 
trust to the strength of man to support ourselves^ 
our confidence therein will be vain. For he who 
removed the hedge from his vineyard, and gave it 
to be trodden under foot by reason of the wild 
grapes it produced (Isa. v. 6), remains unchange- 
able ; and if, for the chastisement of wickedness 
and the further promoting of his own glory, he doth 
arise, even to shake terribly the earth, who then 
may oppose him, and prosper ? 

We remain, in the love of the gospel, your friends 

and brethren. 

(Signed by fourteen Friends.) 

Scrupling to do writings relative to keeping 
slaves has been a means of sundry small trials 
to me, in which I have so evidently felt my own 
will set aside that I think it good to mention a 
few of thenL Tradesmen and retailers of goods, 
who depend on their business for a living, are 
naturally inclined to keep the good-will of their 
customers; nor is it a pleasant thing for young 
men to be under any necessity to question the 
judgment or honesty of elderly men, and more 
especially of such as have a fair reputation. Deep- 

TJu youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 87 

rooted customs, though wrong, are not easily 
altered ; but it is the duty of all to be firm in 
that which they certainly know is right for them. 
A charitable, benevolent man, well acquainted with 
a negro, may, I believe, under some circumstances, 
keep him in his family as a servant, on no other 
motives than the negro's good ; but man, as man, 
knows not what shall be after him, nor hath 
he any assurance that his children will attain to 
that perfection in wisdom and goodness necessary 
rightly to exercise such power; hence it is clear 
to me, that I ought not to be the scribe where wills 
are drawn in which some children are made ales 
masters over others during life. 

About this time an ancient man of good esteem 
in the neighborhood came to my house to get his 
wfll written. He had young negroes, and I asked 
him privately how he purposed to dispose of them. 
He told me ; I then said, '' I cannot write thy will 
without breakmg my own peace," and respectfully 
gave him my reasons for it He signified that he 
had a choice that I should have written it, but as I 
could not, consistently with my conscience, he did 
not desire it, and so he got it written by some other 
person. A few years after, there being great altera- 
tions in his family, he came again to get me to 
write his wilL His negroes were yet young, and 
his son, to whom he intended to give them, was, 
since he first spoke to me, from a libertine become 
a sober young man, and he supposed that I would 
have been free on that account to write it We had 

'88 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

much friendly talk on the subject, and then deferred 
it. A few days after he came again and directed 
their freedom, and I then wrote his will 

Near the time that the last-mentioned Friend first 
spoke to me, a neighbor received a bad bruise in 
his body and sent for me to bleed him, which hav- 
ing done, he desired me to write his will. I took 
notes, and amongst other things he told me to 
which of his children he gave his young negro. I 
considered the pain and distress he was in, and 
knew not how it would end, so I wrote his will, 
save only that part concerning his slave, and carry- 
ing it to his bedside read it to him. I then told 
him in a friendly way that I could not write any 
instruments by which my fellow-creatures were 
made slaves, without bringing trouble on my own 
mind. I let him know that I charged nothing for 
what I had done, and desired to be excused from 
doing the other part in the way he proposed. We 
then had a serious conference on the subject ; at 
length, he agreeing to set her free, I finished his wilL 

Having found drawings in my mind to visit 
Friends on Long Island, after obtaining a cer- 
tificate from our Monthly Meeting, I set off 12 th 
of fifth month, 1756. When I reached the island, 
I lodged the first night at the house of my dear 
friend, Richard HalletL The next day being the 
first of the week, I was at the meeting in New 
Town, in which we experienced the renewed mani- 
festations of the love of Jesus Christ to the comfort 
of the honest-hearted. I went that night to Flush- 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 89 

ing, and the next day I and my beloved friend, 
Matthew Franklin, crossed the ferry at White 
Stone ; were at three meetings on the main, and 
then returned to the island, where I spent the 
remainder of the week in visiting meetings. The 
Lord, I believe, hath a people in those parts who 
are honestly inclined to serve him ; but many I 
fear, are too much clogged with the things of this 
life, and do not come forward bearing the cross in 
such faithfulness as he calls for. 

My mind was deeply engaged in this visit, both 
in public and private, and at several places where 
I was, on observing that they had slaves, I found 
mjTself under a necessity, in a friendly way, to labor 
with them on that subject; expressing, as way 
opened, the inconsistency of that practice with the 
purity of the Christian religion, and the ill effects of 
it manifested amongst us. 

The latter end of the week their Yearly Meet- 
ing b^;an ; at which were our friends, John Scar- 
borough, Jane Hoskins, and Susannah Brown, from 
Pennsylvania. The public meetings were laige, 
and measurably favored with Divine goodness. The 
exercise of my mind at this meeting was chiefly 
on account of those who were considered as the 
foremost rank in the Society ; and in a meeting of 
ministers and elders way opened for me to express 
in some measure what lay upon me ; and when 
Friends were met for transacting the affairs of the 
church, having sat awhile silent, I felt a weight on 
my mindy and stood up ; and through the gracious 

90 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

regard of our Heavenly Father strength was given 
fully to clear myself of a burden which for some 
days had been increasing upon me. 

Through the humbling dispensations of Divine 
Providence, men are sometimes fitted for his service. 
The messages of the prophet Jeremiah were so dis- 
agreeable to the people, and so adverse to the spirit 
they lived in, that he became the object of their re- 
proach, and in the weakness of nature he thought 
of desisting from his prophetic office ; but saith he, 
" His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut 
up in my bones ; and I was weary with forbearing, 
and could not stay." I saw at this time that if I 
, was honest in declaring that which truth opened in 
me, I could not please all men ; and I labored to be 
content in the way of my duty, however disagreeable 
to my own inclination. After this I went home- 
ward, taking Woodbridge and Plainfield in my 
way, in both which meetings the pure influence of 
Divine love was manifested, in an humbling sense 
whereof I went home. I had been out about twen- 
ty-four days, and rode about three hundred and 
sixteen miles. 

While I was out on this journey my heart was 
much affected with a sense of the state of the 
churches in our southern provinces ; and believing 
the Lord was calling me to some further labor 
amongst them, I was bowed in reverence before 
him, with fervent desires that I might find strength 
to resign myself to his heavenly will. 

Until this year, 1756, 1 continued to retail goods. 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 91 

besides following my trade as a tailor j about which 
time I grew uneasy on account of my business grow- 
ing too cumbersome. I had begun with selling trim- 
mings for garments, and from thence proceeded 
to sell cloths and linens ; and at length, having got 
a considerable shop of goods, my trade increased 
every year, and the way to large business appeared 
c^n, but I felt a stop in my mind. 

Through the mercies of the Almighty, I had, in 
a good degree, learned to be content with a plain 
way of living. I had but a small family ; and, on 
serious consideration, believed truth did not re- 
quire me to engage much in cumbering affairs. It 
had been my general practice to buy and sell things 
really useful. Things that served chiefly to please 
the vain mind in people, I was not easy to trade 
in ; seldom did it ; and whenever I did I found it 
weaken me as a Christian. 

The increase of business became my burden ; 
for though my natural inclination was toward mer- 
chandise, yet I believed truth required me to live 
more free from outward cumbers ; and there was 
now a strife in my mind between the two. In this 
exercise my prayers were put up to the Lord, who 
graciously heard me, and gave me a heart resigned 
to his holy will. Then I lessened my outward busi- 
nesSy and, as I had opportunity, told my customers 
of my intentions, that they might consider what shop 
to turn to ; and in a while I wholly laid down mer- 
chandise, and followed my trade as a tailor by my- 
self having no apprentice. I also had a nursery 

92 The youmal of John Woolman. 

of apple-trees, in which I employed some of my 
time in hoeing, grafting, trimming, and inoculating.* 
In merchandise it is the custom where I lived to 
sell chiefly on credit, and poor people often get in 
debt j when payment is expected, not having where- 
with to pay, their creditors often sue for it at law. 
Having frequently observed occurrences of this 
kind, I found it good for me to advise poor people 
to take such goods as were most useful, and not 

In the time of trading I had an opportunity of 
seeing that the too liberal use of spirituous liquors 
and the custom of wearing too costly apparel led 
some people into great inconveniences ; and that 

* He seems to have regarded agriculture as the business 
most conducive to moral and physical health. He thought 
" if the leadings of the Spirit were more attended to, more 
people would be engaged in the sweet employment of hus- 
bandry, where labor is agreeable and healthful." He does 
not condemn the honest acquisition of wealth in other 
business free from oppression; even "merchandising," he 
thought, might be carried on innocently and in pure reason. 
Christ does not forbid the laying up of a needful support for 
family and friends ; the command is, " Lay not up for your- 
selves treasures on earth." From his little farm on the 
Rancocas he looked out with a mingled feeling of wonder 
and sorrow upon the hurry and unrest of the world ; and 
especially was he pained to see luxury and extravagance 
overgrowing the early plainness and simplicity of his own 
religious society. He regarded the merely rich man with 
unfeigned pity. With nothing of his scorn, he had all of 
Thoreau's commiseration, for people who went about bowed 
down with the weight of broad acres and great houses on 
their backs. 

The youmal of John Woolman. 93 

these two things appear to be often connected with 
each other. By not attending to that use of things 
which is consistent with universal righteousness^ 
there is an increase of labor which extends beyond 
what our Heavenly Father intends for us. And 
by great labor^ and often by much sweating, there 
is even among such as are not drunkards a craving 
of liquors to revive the spirits ; that partly by the 
luxurious drinking of some, and partly by the drink- 
ing of others (led to it through immoderate labor), 
very great quantities of rum are every year expend- 
ed in our colonies ; the greater part of which we , 
should have no need of, did we steadily attend to^ 
pore wisdom. 

When men take pleasure in feeling their minds 
elevated with strong drink, and so indulge their ap- 
petite as to disorder their understandings, neglect 
their duty as members of a family or civil society, 
and cast off all regard to religion, their case is 
much to be pitied. And where those whose lives 
are for the most part regular, and whose examples 
have a strong influence on the minds of others, ad- 
here to some customs which powerfully draw to the 
use of more strong liquor than pure wisdom allows, 
it hinders the spreading of the spirit of meekness, 
and strengthens the hands of the more excessive 
drinkers. This is a case to be lamented. 

Every degree of luxury hath some connection \ 
with evil ; and if those who profess to be disciples 
of Christ, and are looked upon as leaders of the 
people, have that mind in them which was also in 

94 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

Christ, and so stand separate from every wrong way, 
it is a means of help to the weaker. As I have 
sometimes been much spent in the heat and have 
taken spirits to revive me, I have found by experi- 
ence, that in such circumstances the mind is not 
so calm, nor so fitly disposed for Divine meditation, 
as when all such extremes are avoided. I have felt 
an increasing care to attend to that Holy Spirit 
which sets right bounds to our desires, and leads 
those who faithfully follow it to apply all the gifts 
of Divine Providence to the purposes for which 
they were intended. Did those who have the care 
of great estates attend with singleness of heart to 
this heavenly Instructor, which so opens and en- 
larges the mind as to cause men to love their 
neighbors as themselves, they would have wisdom 
given them to manage their concerns, without em- 
ploying some people in providing the luxuries of 
life, or others in laboring too hard ; but for want 
of steadily regarding this principle of Divine love, 
a selfish spirit takes place in the minds of people, 
which is attended with darkness and manifold con- 
fusions in the world. 

Though trading in things useful is an honest em- 
' ploy, yet through the great number of superfluities 
which are bought and sold, and through the cor- 
ruption of the times, they who apply to merchandise 
for a living have great need to be well experienced 
in that precept which the Prophet Jeremiah laid 
down for his scribe : " Seekest thou great things 
for thyself? seek them not." 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 95 

In the winter this year I was engaged with 
friends in visiting ^unilies, and through the good- 
ness of the Lord we oftentimes experienced his 
heart-tendering presence amongst us. 

A Copy of a Letter written to a Friend, 

^ In thiSy thy late affliction, I have found a deep 
fellow-feeling with thee, and have had a secret hope 
throughout that it might please the Father of Mer- 
cies to raise thee up and sanctify thy troubles to 
thee ; that thou being more fully acquainted with 
that way which the world esteems foolish, mayst 
feel the clothing of Divine fortitude, and be 
strengthened to resist that spirit which leads from 
the simplicity of the everlasting truth. 

''We may see ourselves crippled and halting, 
and from a strong bias to things pleasant and easy 
find an impossibility to advance forward ; but things 
impossible with men are possible with God j/and 
our wills being made subject to his, all temptations 
are surmountable^ 

" This work of subjecting the will is compared to 
the mineral in the furnace, which, through fervent 
heat, b reduced from its first principle :' He re- 
fines them as silver is refined ; he shall sit as a 
refiner and purifier of silver.' By these compari- 
sons we are instructed in the necessity of the melt- 
ing operation of the hand of God upon us, to pre- 
pare our hearts truly to adore him, and manifest 
that adoration by inwardly turning away from that 
spirit, in all its workings, which is not of him. To 

g6 T/ie youmal of John Woolman. 

forward this work the all-wise God is sometimes 
pleased, through outward distress, to bring us near 
the gates of death; that life being painful and 
afflicting, and the prospect of eternity opened be- 
fore us, all earthly bonds may be loosened, and the 
mind prepared for that deep and sacred instruction 
which otherwise would not be received. If kind 
parents love their children and delight in their 
happiness, then he who is perfect goodness in 
sending abroad mortal contagions doth assuredly 
direct their use. Are the righteous removed by it ? 
their change is happy. Are the wicked taken away 
in their wickedness? the Almighty is clear. Do 
we pass through with anguish and great bitterness, 
and yet recover? He intends that we should be 
purged from dross, and our ear opened to dis- 

" And now, as thou art again restored, after thy 
sore affliction and doubts of recovery, forget not 
Him who hath helped thee, but in humble gratitude 
hold fast his instructions, and thereby shun those 
by-paths which lead from the firm foundation. I 
am sensible of that variety of company to which 
one in thy business must be exposed ; I have pain- 
fully felt the force of conversation proceeding from 
men deeply rooted in an earthly mind, and can 
sympathize with others in such conflicts, because 
much weakness still attends me. 

" I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom, 
and to commit my cause to God, not fearing to 
offend men, who take offence at the simplicity of 

The youmal of John Woolman. 97 

truth, is the only way to remain unmoved at the 
sentiments of others. 

** The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in 
our duty, and giving back in the time of trial, our 
bands grow weaker, our spirits get mingled with 
the people, our ears grow dull as to hearing the 
language of the true Shepherd, so that when we 
look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though 
it was not for us to follow them. 

*' A love clothes my mind while I write, which is 
superior to all expression ; and I find my heart 
open to encourage to a holy emulation, to advance 
forward in Christian firmness. Deep humility is a 
strong bulwark, and as we enter into it we find 
safety and true exaltation. The foolishness of 
God is wiser than man, and the weakness of God 
is stronger than man. Being unclothed of our own 
wisdom, and knowing the abasement of the crea- 
ture, we find that power to arise which gives health 
and vigor to us." 

98 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 


1757, 1758. 

Visit to the Families of Friends at Burlington. — Journey to 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. — 
Considerations on the State of Friends there, and the Exer- 
cise he was under in Travelling among those so generally 
concerned in keeping Slaves, with some Observations on 
this Subject — Epistle to Friends at New Garden and 
Crane Creek. — Thoughts on the Neglect of a Religious 
Care in the Education of the Negroes. 

THIRTEENTH fifth month, 1757. — Being in 
good health, and abroad with Friends visit- 
ing families, I lodged at a Friend's house in Bur- 
lington. Going to bed about the time usual with 
me, I awoke in the night, and my meditations, as I 
lay, were on the goodness and mercy of the Lord, 
in a sense whereof my heart was contrited. After 
this I went to sleep again ; in a short time I awoke % 
it was yet dark, and no appearance of day or moon- 
shine, and as I opened mine eyes I saw a light in 
my chamber, at the apparent distance of five feet, 
about nine inches in diameter, of a clear, easy 
brightness, and near its centre the most radiant. 
As I lay still looking upon it without any surprise, 
words were spoken to my inward ear, which filled 
my whole inward man. They were not the effect of 
thought, nor any conclusion in relation to the ap- 
pearance, but as the language of the Holy One 

Tlie yourtial of John Woolman. 99 

spoken in my mind. The words were, Certain 
Evidence of Divine Truth. They were again 
repeated exactly in the same manner, and then the 
light disappeared. 

Feeling the exercise in relation to a visit to the 
Southern Provinces to increase upon me, I ac- 
quainted our Monthly Meeting therewith, and ob- 
tained their certificate. Expecting to go alone, 
one of my brothers who lived in Philadelphia, hav- 
ing some business in North Carolina, proposed 
going with me part of the way ; but as he had a 
view of some outward affairs, to accept of him as a 
companion was some difficulty with me, whereupon 
I had conversation with him at sundry times. At 
length feeling easy in my mind, I had conversation 
with several elderly Friends of Philadelphia on the 
sobject, and he obtaining a certificate suitable to 
tiie occasion, we set off in the fifth month, 1757. 
Coming to Nottingham week-day meeting, we 
lodged at John Churchman's, where I met with 
our friend, Benjamin Buffington, from New Eng- 
land, who was returning from a visit to the Southern 
Provinces. Thence we crossed the river Susque- 
hanna, and lodged at William Cox's in Maryland. 

Soon after I entered this province a deep and 
painful exercise came upon me, which I often had 
some feeling of, since my mind was drawn toward 
tiiese parts, and with which I had acquainted my 
brother before we agreed to join as companions. 
As the people in this and the Southern Provinces 
live much on the labor of slaves, many of whom 

100 The youmal of John Woolman, 

are used hardly, my concern was that I might 
attend with singleness of heart to the voice of the 
true Shepherd, and be so supported as to remain 
unmoved at the faces of men. 

As it is common for Friends on such a visit to 
have entertainment free of cost, a difficulty arose in 
my mind with respect to saving my money by kind- 
ness received from what appeared to me to be the 
gain of oppression. Receiving a gift, considered 
as a gift, brings the receiver under obligations to 
the benefactor, and has a natural tendency to draw 
the obliged into a party with the giver. To pre- 
vent difficulties of this kind, and to preserve the 
minds of judges from any bias, was that Divine pro- 
hibition : ** Thou shalt not receive any gift ; for a 
gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words 
of the righteous." (Exod. xxiii. 8.) As the dis- 
ciples were sent forth without any provision for 
their journey, and our Lord said the workman is 
worthy of his meat, their labor in the gospel was 
considered as a reward for their entertainment, and 
therefore not received as a gift ; yet, in regard to 
my present journey, I could not see my way clear 
in that respect. The difference appeared thus: 
the entertainment the disciples met with was from 
them whose hearts God had opened to receive 
them, from a love to them and the truth they pub- 
lished ; but we, considered as members of the same 
religious society, look upon it as a piece of civility 
to receive each other in such visits ; and such re- 
ception, at times, is partly in regard to reputation. 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. loi 

and not from an inward unity of heart and spirit. 
Conduct is more convincing than language, and 
where people, by their actions, manifest that the 
slave-trade is not so disagreeable to their principles 
but that it may be encouraged, there is not a sound 
uniting with some Friends who visit them. 

The prospect of so weighty a work, and of being 
so distinguished from many whom I esteemed be- 
fore myself, brought me very low, and such were 
the conflicts of my soul that I had a near sympathy 
with the Prophet, in the time of his weakness, when 
he said : ^' If thou deal thus with me, kill me, I 
pray thee, if I have found favor in thy sight'' 
(Num. xi 15.) But I soon saw that this proceeded 
from the want of a full resignation to the Divine 
wilL Many were the afflictions which attended me, 
and in great abasement, with many tears, my cries 
were to the Almighty for his gracious and fatherly 
assistance, and after a time of deep trial I was 
lavored to understand the state mentioned by the 
Psalmist more clearly than ever I had done before ; 
to wit: ''My soul is even as a weaned child." 
(Psalm cxxjd. 2.) Being thus helped to sink down 
into resignation, I felt a deliverance from that tem- 
pest in which I had been sorely exercised, and in 
calmness of mind went forward, trusting that the 
Lord Jesus Christ, as I faithfully attended to him, 
would be a counsellor to me in all difficulties, and 
that by his strength I should be enabled even to 
leave money with the members of society where 
I had entertainment, when I found that omitting it 

I02 The Journal of yohn Woolman. 

would obstruct that work to which I believed he 
had called me. As I copy this after my return, 
I may here add, that oftentimes I did so under a 
sense of duty. The way in which I did it was 
thus : when I expected soon to leave a Friend's 
house where I had entertainment, if I believed that 
I should not keep clear from the gain of oppression 
without leaving money, I spoke to one of the heads 
of the family privately, and desired them to accept 
of those pieces of silver, and give them to such of 
their negroes as they believed would make the best 
use of them ; and at other times I gave them to 
the negroes myself, as the way looked clearest to 
me. Before I came out, I had provided a large 
number of small pieces for this purpose and thus 
oflfering them to some who appeared to be wealthy 
people was a trial both to me and them. But the 
fear of the Lord so covered me at times that my 
way was made easier than I expected ; and few, if 
any, manifested any resentment at the offer, and 
most of them, after some conversation, accepted of 

Ninth of fifth month. — A Friend at whose house 
we breakfasted setting us a little on our way, I had 
conversation with him, in the fear of the Lord, con- 
cerning his slaves, in which my heart was tender ; 
I used much plainness of speech with him, and 
he appeared to take it kindly. We pursued our 
journey without appointing meetings, being pressed 
in my mind to be at the Yearly Meeting in Virginia. 
In my travelling on the road, I often felt a cry rise 

The youmal of JvAn Woo/man. 103 

from the centre of my mind, thus : " O Lord, I am 
a stranger on the earth, hide not thy face from me." 
On the nth, we crossed the rivers Patowmack 
and Rapahannock, and lodged at Port Royal. On 
the way we had the company of a colonel of the 
militia, who appeared to be a thoughtful man. I 
took occasion to remark on the difference in general 
betwixt a people used to labor moderately for their 
living, training up their children in frugality and 
business, and those who live on the labor of slaves ; 
the former, in my view, being the most happy life. 
He concurred in the remark, and mentioned the 
trouble arising from the untoward, slothful dispo- 
sition of the negroes, adding that one of our labor- 
ers would do as much in a day as two of their 
slaves. I replied, that free men, whose minds 
were properly on their business, found a satisfac- 
tion in improving, cultivating, and providing for 
their families; but negroes, laboring to support 
others who claim them as their property, and ex- 
pecting nothing but slavery during life, had not the 
, like inducement to be industrious. 

After some further conversation I said, that men 
having power too often misapplied it ; that though 
we made slaves of the negroes, and the Turks made 
slaves of the Christians, I believed that liberty was 
the natural right of all men equally. This he did 
not deny, but said the lives of the negroes were so 
wretched in their own country that many of them 
lived better here than there. I replied, '^ There is 
great odds in regard to us on what principle we 

104 ^^ youmal of yohn Woolman. 

act" j and so the conversation on that subject ended. 
I may here add that another person, some time 
afterwards^ mentioned the wretchedness of the 
negroes, occasioned by their intestine wars, as an 
argument in favor of our fetching them away for 
slaves. To which I replied, if compassion for the 
Africans, on account of their domestic troubles, 
was the real motive of our purchasing them, that 
spirit of tenderness being attended to, would incite 
us to use them kindly, that, as strangers brought 
out of affliction, their lives might be happy among 
us. And as they are human creatures, whose souls 
are as precious as ours, and who may receive the 
same help and comfort from the Holy Scriptures as 
we do, we could not omit suitable endeavors to 
instruct them therein ; but that while we manifest 
by our conduct that our views in purchasing them 
are to advance ourselves, and while our buying 
captives taken in war animates those parties to 
push on the war, and increase desolation amongst 
them, to say they live unhappily in Africa is far 
from being an argument in our favor. I further 
said, the present circumstances of these provinces 
to me appear difficult; the slaves look like a 
burdensome stone to such as burden themselves 
with them ; and that if the white people retain a 
resolution to prefer their outward prospects of gain 
to all other considerations, and do not act consci- 
entiously toward them as fellow-creatures, I believe 
that burden will grow heavier and heavier, until 
times change in a way disagreeable to us. The 

The yaumal cf John Woolman, 105 

person appeared veiy serious, and owned that in 
considering their aHidition and the manner of 
their treatment io these provinces he had some- 
times thought it might be just in the Ahnighty so 
to order iL 

Having travelled through Maryland, we came 
amongst Friends at Cedar Creek in Viiginia, on 
the I2th; and the next day rode, in company 
with several of them, a day's journey to Camp 
Creek. As I was riding along in the morning, my 
mind was deeply affected in a sense I had of the 
need of EHvine aid to support me in the various 
difficulties which attended me, and in uncommon 
distress of mind I cried in secret to the Most 
High, ''O Lord be merciful, I beseech thee, to 
tiiy poor afflicted creature 1 " After some time, I 
felt inward relief, and, soon after, a Friend in com- 
pany began to talk in support of the slave-trade, 
and said the negroes were understood to be the 
ofl^ring of Cain, their blackness being the mark 
which God set upon him after he murdered Abel 
his brother ; that it was the design of Providence 
they should be slaves, as a condition proper to the 
race of so wicked a man as Cain was. Then an- 
other spake in support of what had been said. To 
an which I replied in substance as follows: that 
Noah and his family were all who survived the 
flood, according to Scripture ; and as Noah was of 
Sethis race, the family of Cain was wholly destroyed. 
One of them said that after the flood Ham went to 
the land of Nod and took a wife ; that Nod was a 

io6 The Joumal of John Woolman, 

land far distant, inhabited by Cain's race, and that 
the flood did not reach it ; and as Ham was sen- 
tenced to be a servant of servants to his brethren, 
these two families, being thus joined, were un- 
doubtedly fit only for slaves. I replied, the flood 
was a judgment upon the world for their abomi- 
nations, and it was granted that Cain's stock was 
the most wicked, and therefore unreasonable to 
suppose that they were spared. As to Ham's going 
to the land of Nod for a wife, no time being fixed. 
Nod might be inhabited by some of Noah's family 
before Ham married a second time ; moreover the 
text saith "That all flesh died that moved upon 
the earth." (Gen. vii. 21.) I fiirther reminded them 
how the prophets repeatedly declare " that the son 
shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, but 
every one be answerable for his own sins." I was 
troubled to perceive the darkness of their imagina- 
tions, and in some pressure of spirit said, " The love 
of ease and gain are the motives in general of keep- 
ing slaves, and men are wont to take hold of weak 
arguments to support a cause which is unreason- 
able. I have no interest on either side, save only 
the interest which I desire to have in the truth. I 
believe liberty is their right, and as I see they are 
not only deprived of it, but treated in other respects 
with inhumanity in many places, I believe He who 
is a refuge for the oppressed will, in his own time, 
plead their cause, and happy will it be for such as 
walk in uprightness before him." And thus our 
conversation ended. 

The youTtud cf Jokm Wadmrnm. 107 

Fourteenth of fifth moadL — I was cEebs daf at 
Camp Creek Monthfy Mfefmg; aod ohcn lode todbe 
mountains up James River, and had a meeting at a 
Friend's house, in both idiich I idt sonDvof heail^ 
and my tears were poured oat belbre the Locd, vho 
was pleased to afford a d^;rec of strength bj which 
way was opened to dear my mind amnogit Friends 
in those places. From thence I went to Fcxk 
Creek, and so to Cedar Creek again, at which 
place I now had a meeting. Here I found a ten- 
der seed, and as I was preserved in the ministry to 
keep low with the truth, the same truth in their 
hearts answered it, diat it was a time c{ mutual re- 
freshment from the presence o{ the Lord. I lodged 
at James Standley's, £uher oi William Standley, one 
of the young men who suffered imprisonment at 
Winchester last summer on account of their testi- 
mony against fighdng, and I had some satisfactory 
conversation with him concerning it Hence I 
went to the Swamp Meeting, and to Wayanoke 
Meeting, and then crossed James River, and lodged 
near Burleigh. From the time of my entering 
Maryland I have been much under sorrow, which 
of late so increased upon me that my mind was al- 
most overwhelmed, and I may say with the Psalm- 
ist, ^ In my distress I called upon the Lord, and 
cried to my God," who, in infinite goodness, looked 
upon my affliction, and in my private retirement 
sent the Comforter for my relief, for which I hum- 
bly bless his holy name. 

The sense I had of the state of the c> 


io8 The youmal of John Woolman. 

brought a weight of distress upon me. The gold to 
me appeared dim, and the fine gold changed, and 
though this is the case too generally, yet the sense 
of it in these parts hath in a particular manner 
borne heavy upon me. It appeared to me that 
through the prevailing of the spirit of this world the 
minds of many were brought to an inward desola- 
tion, and instead of the spirit of meekness, gentle- 
ness, and heavenly wisdom, which are the necessary 
companions of the true sheep of Christ, a spirit of 
^ fierceness and the love of dominion too generally 

prevailed. From small beginnings in error great 
buildings by degrees are raised, and from one age 
to another are more and more strengthened by the 
general concurrence of the people ; and as men 
obtain reputation by their profession of the truth, 
their virtues are mentioned as arguments in favor 
of general error ; and those of less note, to justify 
themselves, say, such and such good men did the 
like. By what other steps could the people of 
Judah arise to that height in wickedness as to give 
just ground for the Prophet Isaiah to declare, in the 
name of the Lord, '' that none calleth for justice, 
nor any pleadeth for truth " (Isa. lix. 4), or for the 
Almighty to call upon the great city of Jerusalem 
just before the Babylonish captivity, " If ye can 
find a man, if there be any who executeth judg- 
ment, that seeketh the truth, and I will pardon it " ? 
(Jer. V. I.) 

The prospect of a way being open to the same 
d^neracy, in some parts of this newly settled 

The youmal of yohn Woo/man. 109 

land of America, in respect to our conduct towards 
the negroes, hath deeply bowed my mind in this 
journey, and though briefly to relate how these 
people are treated is no agreeable work, yet, after 
often reading over the notes I made as I travelled, 
I find my mind engaged to preserve them. Many 
of the white people in those provinces take litde or 
no care of negro marriages ; and when negroes 
many after their own way, some make so litde 
account of those marriages that with views of out- 
ward interest they often part men from their wives 
by selling them far asunder, which is common when 
estates are sold by executors at vendue. Many 
whose labor is heavy being followed at their busi- 
ness in the field by a man with a whip, hired for 
that purpose, have in common little else allowed 
but one peck of Indian com and some salt, for one 
week, with a few potatoes ; the potatoes they com- 
monly raise by their labor on the first day of the 
week. The correction ensuing on their disobedi- 
ence to overseers, or slothfiilness in business, is 
often very severe, and sometimes desperate. 

Men and women have many times scarcely 
clothes sufficient to hide their nakedness, and 
boys and girls ten and twelve years old are often 
quite naked amongst their master's children. Some 
of our Society, and some of the society called New* 
lights, use some endeavors to instruct those they 
have in reading ; but in common this is not only 
neglected, but disapproved These are the people 
bj whose labor the other inhabitants are in a great 

1 10 The journal of yohn Woolman. 

measure supported, and many of them in the luxu- 
ries of life. These are the people who have made 
no agreement to serve us, and who have not for- 
feited their liberty that we know o£ These are the 
souls for whom Christ died, and for our conduct 
towards them we must answer before Him who is no 
respecter of persons. They* who know the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, and 
are thus acquainted with the merciful, benevolent, 
gospel spirit, will therein perceive that the indigna- 
tion of God is kindled against oppression and 
cruelty, and in beholding the great distress of so 
numerous a people will find cause for mourning. 

From my lodgings I went to Burleigh Meeting, 
where I felt my mind drawn in a quiet, resigned 
state. After long silence I felt an engagement to 
stand up, and through the powerful operation of 
Divine love we were favored with an edifying meet- 
ing. The next meeting we had was at Black- 
Water, and from thence went to the Yearly Meet- 
ing at the Western Branch. When business began, 
some queries were introduced by some of their 
members for consideration, and, if approved, they 
were to be answered hereafter by their respective 
Monthly Meetings. They were the Pennsylvania 
queries, which had been examined by a committee 
of Virginia Yearly Meeting appointed the last year, 
who made some alterations in them, one of which 
alterations was made in favor of a custom which 
troubled me. The query was, "Are there any 
concerned in the importation of negroes, or in 

TJte youmcd of yohn Woolman. i n 

buying them after imported?" which was thus 
altered, "Are there any concerned in the impor- 
tation of negroes, or buying them to trade in ? ^ 
As one query admitted with unanimity was, " Are 
any concerned in buying or vending goods unlaw- 
fully imported, or prize goods ? " I found my mind 
engaged to say that as we profess the truth, and 
were there assembled to support the testimony of 
it, it was necessary for us to dwell deep and act in 
that wbdom which is pure, or otherwise we could 
not prosper. I then mentioned their alteration, 
and referring to the last-mentioned query, added, 
that as purchasing any merchandise taken by the 
sword was always allowed to be inconsistent with 
our principles, so negroes being captives of war, or 
taken by stealth, it was mconsistent with our testi- 
mony to buy them; and their being our fellow- 
creatures, and sold as slaves, added greatly to the 
iniquity. Friends appeared attentive to what was 
said; some expressed a care and concern about 
their negroes ; none made any objection, by way of 
reply to what I said, but the query was admitted as 
they had altered it 

As some of their members have heretofore traded 
in negroes, as in other merchandise, this query being 
admitted will be one step further than they have 
hitherto gone, and I did not see it my duty to press 
ibr an alteration, but felt easy to leave it all to Him 
who alone is able to turn the hearts of the mighty, 
and make way for the spreading of truth on the 
earth, by means agreeable to his infinite v 

112 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

In regard to those they already had, I felt my mind 
engaged to labor with them, and said that as we 
believe the Scriptures were given forth by holy men, 
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and many 
of us know by experience that they are often help- 
ful and comfortable, and believe ourselves bound 
in duty to teach our children to read them ; I be- 
lieved that if we were divested of all selfish views, 
the same good spirit that gave them forth would 
engage us to teach the negroes to read, that they 
might have the benefit of them. Some present 
manifested a concern to take more care in the edu- 
cation of their negroes. 

Twenty-ninth fifth month. — At the house where 
I lodged was a meeting of ministers and elders. I 
found an engagement to speak freely and plainly to 
them concerning their slaves ; mentioning how they 
as the first rank in the society, whose conduct ia 
that case was much noticed by others, were under 
the stronger obligations to look carefully to them* 
selves. Expressing how needful it was for them in 
that situation to be thoroughly divested of all selfish 
views; that, living in the pure truth, and acting 
conscientiously towards those people in their educa- 
tion and otherwise, they might be instrumental in 
helping forward a work so exceedingly necessary, 
and so much neglected amongst them. At the 
twelfth hour the meeting of worship began, which 
was a solid meeting. 

The next day, about the tenth hour. Friends met 
to finish their business, and then the meeting for 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 113 

iroiship ensued, which to me was a laborious time ; 
but through the goodness of the Lord, truth, I be- 
lieved, gained some ground, and it was a strength- 
ening opportunity to the honest-hearted. 

About this time I wrote an epistle to Friends in the 
back settlements of North Carolina, as follows : — 

To Friends at their Monthly Meeting at New Gar- 
den AND Cane Creek:, in North Carolina : — 

Dear Friends, — It having pleased the Lord to 
draw me forth on a visit to some parts of Virginia 
and Carolina, you have often been in my mind; 
and though my way is not clear to come in person 
to visit you, yet I feel it in my heart to communi- 
cate a few things, as they arise in the love of truth. 
First, my dear friends, dwell in humility ; and take 
heed that no views of outward gain get too deep 
hold of you, that so your eyes being single to the 
Lord, you may be preserved in the way of safety. 
Where people let loose their minds after the love 
of outward things, and are more engaged in pursu- 
ing the profits and seeking the friendships of this 
world than to be inwardly acquainted with the way 
of true peace^ they walk in a vain shadow, while the 
true comfort of life is wanting. Their examples 
are often hurtful to others ; and their treasures thus 
collected do many times prove dangerous snares to 
their children. 

Bat where people are sincerely devoted to follow 
Christ, and dwell under the influence of his Holy 
Spirit, their stability and firmness, through a Divine 
blessing, is at times like dew on the tender plants 


1 14 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

round about them, and the weightiness of their 
spirits secretly works on the minds of others. In 
this condition, through ttie spreading influence of 
Divine love, they feel a care over the flock, and 
way is opened for maintaining good order in the 
Society. And though we may meet with opposition 
from another spirit, yet, as there is a dwelling in 
meekness, feeling our spirits subject, and moving 
only in the gentle, peaceable wisdom, the inward re- 
ward of quietness will be greater than all our diffi- 
culties. Where the pure life is kept to, and meet- 
ings of discipline are held in the authority of it, we 
find by experience that they are comfortable, and 
tend to the health of the body. 

While I write, the youth come fresh in my way. 
Dear young people, choose God for your portion ; 
love his truth, and be not ashamed of it ; choose for 
your company such as serve him in uprightness ; 
and shun as most dangerous the conversation of 
those whose lives are of an ill savor ; for by fre- 
quenting such company some hopeful young peo- 
ple have come to great loss, and been drawn from 
less evils to greater, to their utter ruin. In the 
bloom of youth no ornament is so lovely as that of 
virtue, nor any enjoyments equal to those which we 
partake of in fully resigning ourselves to the Divine 
will. These enjoyments add sweetness to all other 
comforts, and give true satisfaction in company and 
conversation, where people are mutually acquainted 
with it ; and as your minds are thus seasoned with 
the truth, you will find strength to abide steadfast 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. 115 

to the testimony of it, and be prepared for services 
in the church. 

And nowy dear friends and brethren, as you are 
improving a wilderness, and may be numbered 
amongst the first planters in one part of a province, 
1 beseech you, in the love of Jesus Christ, wisely 
to consider the force of your examples, and think 
how much your successors may be thereby affected. 
It is a help in a country, yea, and a great favor and 
blessing, when customs first settled are agreeable to 
sound wisdom; but when they are otherwise the 
effect of them is grievous ; and children feel them- 
selves encompassed with difficulties prepared for 
them by their predecessors. 

As moderate care and exercise, under the direc- 
tion of true wisdom, are useful both to mind and 
body, so by these means in general the real wants 
of life are easily supplied, our gracious Father 
having so proportioned one to the other that keep- 
ing in the medium we may pass on quietly. Where 
slaves are purchased to do our labor numerous dif- 
ficulties attend it To rational creatures bondage 
is uneasy, and frequently occasions sourness and 
discontent in them ; which affects the family and 
such as claim the mastery over them. Thus people 
and their children are many times encompassed 
with vexations, which arise from their applying to 
wrong methods to get a living. 

I have been informed that there is a large num- 
ber of Friends in your parts who have no slaves ; 
and in tender and most affectionate love I beseech 

Ii6 The Journal of John Woolman. 

you to keep clear from purchasing any. Look, my 
dear friends, to Divine Providence, and follow in 
simplicity that exercise of body, that plainness and 
frugality, which true wisdom leads to ; so may you 
be preserved from those dangers which attend such 
as are aiming at outward ease and greatness. 

Treasures, though small, attained on a true prin* 
ciple of virtue, are sweet ; and while we walk in the 
light of the Lord there is true comfort and satisfac- 
tion in the possession ; neither the murmurs of an 
oppressed people, nor a throbbing, uneasy con^ 
science, nor anxious thoughts about the events of 
things, hinder the enjoyment of them. 

When we look towards the end of life, and think 
on the division of our substance among our succes- 
sors, if we know that it was collected in the fear 
of the Lord, in honesty, in equity, and in upright- 
ness of heart before him, we may consider it as his 
gift to us, and, with a single eye to his blessing, 
bestow it on those we leave behind us. Such is the 
happiness of the plain ways of true virtue. " The 
work of righteousness shall be peace ; and the ef- 
fect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for- 
ever." (Isa. xxxii. 17.) 

Dwell here, my dear friends ; and then in remote 
and solitary deserts you may find true peace and satis- 
faction. If the Lord be our God, in truth and reality, 
there is safety for us ; for he is a stronghold in the 
day of trouble, and knoweth them that trust in him. 

Isle of Wight County, in Virginia, 
20th of the 5th month, 1757. 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. 117 

From the Yearly Meeting in Virginia 1 went to 
Carolina, and on the ist of .sizlb month was at 
Wells Monthly Meeting, where the spring of the 
gospel ministry was opened, and the love of Jesus 
Christ experienced among us ; to his name be the 

Here my brother joined with some Friends from 
New Garden who were going homeward ; and I 
went next to Simons Creek Monthly Meeting, where 
I was silent during the meeting for worship. When 
business came on, my mind was exercised concern- 
ing the poor slaves, but I did not feel my way clear 
to speak. In this condition I was bowed in spirit 
before the Lord, and With tears and inward suppli- 
cation besought him so to open my understanding 
that I might know his will concerning me ; and, at 
length, my mind was settled in silence. Near the 
end of their business a member of their meeting ex- 
pressed a concern that had some time lain upon 
him, on account of Friends so much neglecting their 
duty in the education of their slaves, and proposed 
having meetings sometimes appomted for them on 
a week-day, to be attended only by some Friends to 
be named in their Monthly Meetings. Many pres- 
ent i^peared to unite with the proposal. One said 
be had often wondered that they, being our fellow- 
creatures, and capable of religious understanding, 
bad been so exceedingly neglected; another ex- 
pressed the like concern, and appeared zealous that 
in future it might be more closely considered. At 
length a minute was made, and the further consid* 

it8 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

eration of it referred to their next Monthly Meeting. 
The Friend who made this proposal hath negroes ; 
he told me that he was at New Garden, about two 
hundred and fifty miles from home, and came back 
alone ; that in this solitary journey this exercise, ia 
regard to the education of their negroes, was from 
time to time renewed in his mind. A Friend of some 
note in Virginia, who hath slaves, told me that he 
being far from home on a lonesome journey had 
many serious thoughts about them ; and his mind 
was so impressed therewith that he believed he saw 
a time coming when Divine Providence would alter 
the circumstance of these people, respecting their 
condition as slaves. 

From hence I went to a meeting at Newbeguri 
Creek, and sat a considerable time in much weak- 
ness ; then I felt truth open the way to speak a 
little in much plainness and simplicity, till at 
length, through the increase of Divine love amongst 
us, we had a seasoning opportunity. This was also 
the case at the head of Little River, where we had 
a crowded meeting on a first-day. I went thence 
to the Old Neck, where I was led into a careful 
searching out of the secret workings of the mystery 
of iniquity, which, under a cover of religion, exalts 
itself against that pure spirit which leads in the way 
of meekness and self-denial. Pineywoods was the 
last meeting I was at in Carolina ; it was large, and 
my heart being deeply engaged, I was drawn forth 
into a fervent labor amongst them. 

When I was at Newbegun Creek a Friend was 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 1 19 

there who labored for his living, having no negroes, 
and who had been a minister many years. He 
came to me the next day, and as we rode together, 
he signified that he wanted to talk with me con- 
cerning a difficulty he had been under, which he 
related nearly as follows. That as moneys had of 
late years been raised by a tax to carry on the 
wars, he had a scruple in his mind in regard to 
paying it, and chose rather to suffer distraint of his 
goods ; but as he was the only person who refused 
it in those parts, and knew not that any one else 
was in the like circumstances, he signified that it 
had been a heavy trial to him, especially as some 
of his brethren had been uneasy with his conduct 
in that case. He added, that from a sympathy he 
felt with me yesterday in meeting, he found freedom 
thus to open the matter in the way of querying con* 
ceming Friends in our parts ; I told him the state 
of Friends amongst us as well as I was able, and 
also that I had for some time been under the like 
scruple. I believed him to be one who was con- 
cerned to walk uprightly before the Lord, and 
esteemed it my duty to preserve this note con- 
cerning him, Samuel Newby. 

From hence I went back into Virginia, and had 
a meeting near James Cowpland's ; it was a time 
of inward suffering, but through the goodness of the 
Lord I was made content; at another meeting, 
through the renewings of pure love, we had a very 
comfortable season. 

Travelling up and down of late, I have had re- 


120 The Journal of John Woolman. 

newed evidences that to be faithful to the Lord, 
and content with his will concerning me, is a most 
necessary and useful lesson for me to be learning ; 
looking less at the effects of my labor than at the 
pure motion and reality of the concern, as it arises 
from heavenly love. In the Lord Jehovah is ever- 
lasting strength ; and as the mind, by humble resig- 
nation, is united to Him, and we utter words from 
an inward knowledge that they arise from the 
heavenly spring, though our way may be difficult, 
and it may require close attention to keep in it, 
and though the manner in which we may be led 
may tend to our own abasement ; yet, if we con- 
tinue in patience and meekness, heavenly peace 
will be the reward of our labors. 

I attended Curies Meeting, which, though small, 
was reviving to the honest-hearted. Afterwards I 
went to Black Creek and Caroline Meetings, from 
whence, accompanied by William Standley before 
mentioned, I rode to Goose Creek, being much 
through the woods, and about one hundred miles. 
We lodged the first night at a public-house; the 
second in the woods ; and the next day we reached 
a Friend's house at Goose Creek. In the woods we 
were under some disadvantage, having no fire-works 
nor bells for our horses, but we stopped a little 
before night and let them feed on the wild grass, 
which was plentiful, in the mean time cutting with 
our knives a store against night We then secured 
our horses, and gathering some bushes under an 
oak we lay down ; but the mosquitoes being numer- 

The Journal of yohn Woolman. 121 

ous and the ground damp I slept but little. Thus 
lying in the wilderness, and looking at the stars, I 
was led to contemplate on the condition of our first 
parents when they were sent forth from the garden ; 
bow the Almighty, though they had been disobedi- 
ent, continued to be a father to them, and showed 
them what tended to their felicity as intelligent 
creatures, and was acceptable to him. To provide 
things relative to our outward living, in the way of 
true wisdom, is good, and the gifl of improving in 
things useful is a good gift, and comes from the 
Father of Lights. Many have had this gift ; and 
from age to age there have been improvements of 
this kind made in the world. But some, not keep- 
ing to the pure gifl, have in the creaturely cunning 
and self-exaltation sought out many inventions. 
As the first motive to these inventions of men, as 
distinct from that uprightness in which man was 
created, was evil, so the effects have been and are 
eviL It is, therefore, as necessary for us at this 
day constantly to attend on the heavenly gift, to 
be qualified to use rightly the good things in this 
life amidst great improvements, as it was for our 
first parents when they were without any improve- 
ments, without any friend or father but God only. 

I was at a meeting at Goose Creek, and next at 
a Monthly Meeting at Fairfax, where, through the 
gracious dealing of the Almighty with us, his power 
prevailed over many hearts. From thence I went 
to Monoquacy and Pipe Creek in Maryland; at 
both places I had cause humbly to adore Him who 

122 The Journal of John Woolman. 

had supported me through many exercises, and by 
whose help I was enabled to reach the true witness 
in the hearts of others. There were some hopefvd 
young people in those parts. I had meetings after- 
wards at John Everif s, in Monalen, and at Hun- 
tingdon, and I was made humbly thankful to the 
Lord, who opened my heart amongst the people in 
these new settlements, so that it was a time of en- 
couragement to the honest-minded. 

At Monalen a Friend gave me some account of 
a religious society among the Dutch, called Men- 
nonists, and amongst other things related a passage 
in substance as follows : One of the Mennonists 
having acquaintance with a man of another society 
at a considerable distance, and being with his 
wagon on business near the house of his said ac- 
quaintance, and night coming on, he had thoughts 
of putting up with him, but passing by his fields, 
and observing the distressed appearance of his 
slaves, he kindled a fire in the woods hard by, and 
lay there that night. His said acquaintance hear- 
ing where he lodged, and afterward meeting the 
Mennonist, told him of it, adding he should have 
been heartily welcome at his house, and from their 
acquaintance in former time wondered at his con- 
duct in that case. The Mennonist replied, " Ever 
since I lodged by thy field I have wanted an oppor- 
tunity to speak with thee. I had intended to come 
to thy house for entertainment, but seeing thy slaves 
at their work, and observing the manner of their 
dress, I had no liking to come to partake with 

The yaumal of yohn Wooltnan. 123 

thee." He then admonished him to use them with 
more humanity, and added, '' As I lay by the fire 
that nighty I thought that as I was a man of sub- 
stance thou wouldst have received me freely ; but 
if I had been as poor as one of thy slaves, and had 
no power to help myself, I should have received 
firom thy hand no kinder usage than they." 

In this journey I was out about two months, and 
travelled about eleven hundred and fifty miles. I 
returned home under an humbling sense of the gra- 
dous dealings of the Lord with me, in preserving 
me through many trials and auctions* 

124 '^f^ youmal of yohn Woolman. 


1757, 1758. 

Considerations on the Payment of a Tax laid for Carrying on 
the War against the Indians. — Meetings of the Committee 
of the Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia. — Some Notes on 
Thomas \ Kempis and John Huss. — The present Circum- 
stances of Friends in Pennsylvania and New Jersey very 
Different from those of our Predecessors. — The Drafting 
of the Militia in New Jersey to serve in the Army, with som^ 
Observations on the State of the Members of our Society a!l^ 
that time. — Visit to Friends in Pennsylvania, accompanied 
by Benjamin Jones. — Proceedings at the Monthly, Quar- 
terly, and Yearly Meetings in Philadelphia, respecting those 
who keep Slaves. 

A FEW years past, money being made current 
in our province for carrying on wars, and to 
be called in again by taxes laid on the inhabitants, 
my mind was oflen affected with the thoughts of 
paying such taxes ; and I believe it right for me to 
preserve a memorandum concerning it. I was told 
that Friends in England frequently paid taxes, when 
the money was applied to such purposes. I had 
conversation with several noted Friends on the sub- 
ject, who all favored the payment of such taxes ; 
some of them T preferred before myself, and this 
made me easier for a time ; yet there was in the 
depth of my mind a scruple which I never could 
get over; and at certain times I was greatly dis- 
tressed on that account. 

The youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 125 

I believed that there were some upright-hearted 
men who paid such taxes, yet could not see that 
their example was a sufficient reason for me to do 
80, while I believe that the spirit of truth required 
of me, as an individual, to suffer patiently the dis- 
tress of goods, rather than pay actively. 

To refuse the active payment of a tax which our 
Society generally paid was exceedingly disagree- 
able ; but to do a thing contrary to my conscience 
appeared yet more dreadfuL When this exercise 
came upon me, I knew of none under the like diffi- 
culty ; and in my distress I besought the Lord to 
enable me to give up all, that so I might follow 
him wheresoever he was pleased to lead me. Under 
this exercise I went to our Yearly Meeting at Phila- 
delphia in the year 1755 ; at which a committee 
was appointed of some from each Quarterly Meeting, 
. to correspond with the meeting for sufferings in Lon- 
don; and another to visit our Monthly and Quarterly 
Meetings. After their appointment, before the last 
adjournment of the meeting, it was agreed that these 
two committees should meet together in Friends' 
Bchool-house in the city, to consider some things in 
which the cause of truth was concerned. They ac- 
cordingly had a weighty conference in the fear of the 
LcM'd ; at which time I perceived there were many 
Friends under a scruple like that before mentioned.* 

As scnqplixig to pay a tax on account of the 

* ChriBtians refused to pay taxes to support heathen tein« 
pks. See Cave's PrimitiYo Christianity, Fart III. p. 327. 

126 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

application hath seldom been heard of heretofore^ 
even amongst men of integrity, who have steadily 
borne their testimony against outward wars in their 
time, I may therefore note some things which 
have occurred to my mind, as I have been in- 
wardly exercised on that account. From the steady 
opposition which faithful Friends in early times 
made to wrong things then approved, they were 
hated and persecuted by men living in the spirit 
of this world, and, suffering with firmness, they 
were made a blessing to the church, and the work 
prospered. It equally concerns men in every age 
to take heed to their own spirits ; and in comparing 
their situation with ours, to me it appears that there 
was less danger of their being infected with the 
spirit of this world, in paying such taxes, than is 
the case with us now. They had little or no share 
in civil government, and many of them declared 
that they were, through the power of God, sepa- 
rated from the spirit in which wars were, and being 
afflicted by the rulers on account of their testimony, 
there was less likelihood of their uniting in spirit 
with them in things inconsistent with the purity of 
truth. We, from the first settlement of this land, 
have known little or no troubles of that sort. The 
profession of our predecessors was for a time ac- 
counted reproachful, but at length their uprightness 
being understood by the rulers, and their innocent 
sufferings moving them, our way of worship was 
tolerated, and many of our members in these colo- 
nies became active in civil government Being 

The Journal of yohn Woolman* 127 

Aus tried with favor and prosperity, this world 
appeared inviting ; our minds have been turned to 
the improvement of our countiy, to merchandise 
and the sciences, amongst which are many things 
useful, if followed in pure wisdom ; but in our pres- 
ent condition I believe it will not be denied that 
a carnal mind is gaining upon us. Some of our 
members, who are officers in civil government, are, 
in one case or other, called upon in their respective 
stations to assist in things relative to the wars ; but 
being in doubt whether to act or to crave to be 
excused from their office, if they see their brethren 
imited in the payment of a tax to carry on the said 
wars, may think their case not much different, and 
so might quench the tender movings of the Holy 
Spirit in their minds. Thus, by small degrees, we 
might approach so near to fighting that the distinc- 
tion would be little else than the name of a peace- 
able people. 

It requires great self-denial and resignation of 
ourselves to God, to attain that state wherein we 
can freely cease from fighting when wrongfully in- 
vaded, if^ by our fighting, there were a probability 
of overcoming the invaders. Whoever rightly at- 
tains to it does in some degree feel that spirit in 
which our Redeemer gave his life for us; and 
through Divine goodness many of our predecessors, 
and many now living, have learned this blessed 
lesson; but many others, having their religion 
chiefly by education, and not being enough ac* 
qoainted with that cross which crucifies to the 

128 The Journal of John Woolman. 

world, do manifest a temper distinguishable from 
that of an entire trust in God. In calmly con- 
sidering these things, it hath not appeared strange 
to me that an exercise hath now fallen upon some, 
which, with respect to the outward means, is dif- 
ferent from what was known to many of those who 
went before us. 

Some time after the Yearly Meeting, the said 
committees met at Philadelphia, and, by adjourn- 
metits, continued sitting several days. The calam- 
ities of war were now increasing ; the frontier in- 
habitants of Pennsylvania were frequently surprised ; 
some were slain, and many taken captive by the 
Indians ; and while these committees sat, the corpse 
of one so slain was brought in a wagon, and t^ken 
through the streets of the city in his bloody gar- 
ments, to alarm the people and rouse them to war. 

Friends thus met were not all of one mind in 
relation to the tax, which, to those who scrupled it, 
made the way more difficult To refuse an active 
payment at such a time might be construed into 
an act of disloyalty, and appeared likely to dis- 
please the rulers, not only here but in England; 
still there was a scruple so fixed on the minds of 
many Friends that nothing moved it. It was a 
conference the most weighty that ever I was at^ 
and the hearts of many were bowed in reverence 
before the Most High. Some Friends of the said 
committees who appeared easy to pay the tax, after 
several adjournments, withdrew; others of them 
continued till the last. At length an epistle of 

The youmal cf John Woolman. 129 

tender love and caution to Friends in Pennsylvania 
was drawn up, and being read several times and 
corrected, was signed by such as were free to sign 
k, and afterward sent to the Monthly and Quarterly 

Ninth of eighth month, 1757. — Orders came at 
Diglit to the militaiy officers in our county (Bur- 
lington), directing them to draft the militia, and 
prepare a number of men to go off as soldiers, to 
the relief of the English at Fort William Henry, 
in New York government ; a few days after which, 
there was a general review of the militia at Mount 
Holly, and a number of men were chosen and sent 
off under some officers. Shortly after, there came 
orders to draft three times as many, who were 
to hold themselves in readiness to march when 
fiesh orders came. On the 17th there was a meet- 
ii^ of the military officers at Mount Holly, who 
agreed on draft \ orders were sent to the men so 
chosen to meet their respective captains at set 
times and places, those in our township to meet at 
Mount Holly, amongst whom were a considerable 
number of our Society. My mind being affected 
herewith, I had fresh opportunity to see and con- 
sider the advantage of living in the real substance 
of religion, where practice doth harmonize with 
principle. Amongst the officers are men of under- 
standing, who have some regard to sincerity where 
they see it; and when such in the execution of 
their office have men to deal with whom they 
believe to be upright-hearted, it is a painful task to 
6« I 

1 30 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

put them to trouble on account of scruples of con* 
science, and they will be likely to avoid it as much 
as easily may be. But where men profess to be so 
meek and heavenly-minded, and to have their trust 
so firmly settled in God that they cannot join in 
wars, and yet by their spirit and conduct in com- 
mon life manifest a contrary disposition, their diffi- 
culties are great at such a time. 

When officers who are anxiously endeavoring to 
get troops to answer the demands of their superiors 
see men who are insincere pretend scruple of con- 
science in hopes of being excused from a danger- 
ous employment, it is likely they will be roughly 
handled. In this time of commotion some of our 
young men left these parts and tarried abroad till 
it was over; some 'came, and proposed to go as 
soldiers ; others appeared to have a real tender 
scruple in their minds against joining in wars, and 
were much humbled under the apprehension of a 
trial so near. I had conversation with several of 
them to my satisfaction. When the captain came 
to town, some of the last-mentioned went and told 
him in substance as follows : That they could not 
bear arms for conscience' sake ; nor could they hire 
any to go in their places, being resigned as to the 
event. At length the captain acquainted them all 
that they might return home for the present, but he 
required them to provide themselves as soldiers, 
and be in readiness to march when called upon. 
This was such a time as I had not seen before ; 
and yet I may say, with thankfulness to the Lord, 

The youmal of John Woolman. 131 

fliat I believed the trial was intended for our good ; 
and I was favored with resignation to him. The 
French army having taken the fort they were be- 
si^ng, destroyed it and went away ; the company 
of men who were first drafted, after some days' 
march, had orders to return home, and those on the 
second draft were no more called upon on that 

Fourth of fourth month, 1758. — Orders came to 
some officers in Mount Holly to prepare quarters * 
for a short time for about one hundred soldiers. 
An officer and two other men, all inhabitants of our 
town, came to my house. The officer told me that 
he came to desire me to provide lodging and enter- 
tainment for two soldiers, and that six shillings a 
week per man would be allowed as pay for it The 
case being new and unexpected I made no answer 
suddenly, but sat a time silent, my mind being in- 
ward. I was fully convinced that the proceedmgs 
in wars are inconsistent with the purity of the Chris- 
tian religion; and to be hired to entertain men, 
who were then under pay as soldiers, was a diffi- 
culty with me. I expected they had legal authority 
for what they did ; and after a short time I said to 
the officer, if the men are sent here for entertain- 
ment I believe I shall not refuse to admit them 
into my house, but the nature of the case is such 
Aat I expect I cannot keep them on hire ; one of 
tiie men intimated that he thought I might do it 
consistently with my reh'gious principles. To which 
I made no reply, believing silence at that time 

132 The youmal of yokn Wooltnan. 

best for me. Though diey spake of two, there 
came only one, who tarried at my house about two 
weeks, and behaved himself civilly. When the 
officer came to pay me, I told him I could not take 
pay, having admitted him into my house in a passive 
obedience to authority. I was on horseback when 
he spake to me, and as I turned from him, he said 
he was obliged to me ; to which I said nothing \ 
but, thinking on the expression, I grew uneasy ; and 
afterwards, being near where he lived, I went and 
told him on what grounds I refused taking pay fof 
keeping the soldier. 

I have been informed that Thomas k Kempis 
lived and died in the profession of the Roman 
Catholic religion ; and, in reading his writings, I 
have believed him*to be a man of a true Christian 
spirit, as fully so as many who died martyrs because 
they could not join with some superstitions in that 
church. All true Christians are of the same spirit, 
but their gifts are diverse, Jesus Christ appointing 
to each one his peculiar office, agreeably to his in- 
finite wisdom. 

John Huss contended against the errors which 
had crept into the church, in opposition to the 
Council of Constance, which the historian reports 
to have consisted of some thousand persons. He 
modestly vindicated the cause which he believed 
was right j and though his language and conduct 
towards his judges appear to have been respectful, 
yet he never could be moved from the principles 
settled in his mind. To use his own words : '^ This 

The youmal of yohn Woo/man. 133 

I most humbly require and desire of you all, even 
for bis sake who is the God of us all, that I be not 
compelled to the thing which my conscience doth 
repugn or strive against" And again, in his answer 
to the Emperor: *^1 refuse nothing, most noble 
Emperor, whatsoever the council shall decree or de« 
termine upon me, only this one thing I except, that 
I do not offend God and my conscience."* At 
length, rather than act contrary to that which he be- 
lieved the Lord required of him, he chose to suffer * 
death by fire. Thomas k Kempis, without disputing 
against the articles then generally agreed to, appears 
to have labored, by a pious example as well as by 
preaching and writing, to promote virtue and the 
inward spiritual religion ; and I believe they were 
both sincere>hearted followers 'of Christ True 
charity is an excellent virtue j and sincerely to labor 
ior their good, whose belief in all points doth not 
agree with ours, is a happy state. 

Near the beginning of the year 1758, 1 went one 
evening, in company with a friend, to visit a sick 
person ; and before our return we were told of a 
woman living near, who had for several days been 
disconsolate, occasioned by a dream, wherein death, 
and the judgments of the Almighty after death, were 
represented to her mind in a moving manner. Her 
sadness on that account being worn off, the friend 
with whom I was in company went to see her, and 
had some religious conversation with her and her 
husband. With this visit they were somewhat af* 

* Fox's Acts and Monuments, p. 233. 

134 ^^^ youmal of John Woolman. 

fected, and the man, with many tears, expressed his 
satisfaction. In a short time after the poor man, 
being on the river in a storm of wind, was with one 
more drowned. 

Eighth month, 1758. — Having had drawings in 
my mind to be at the Quarterly Meeting in Chester 
County, and at some meetings in the county of 
Philadelphia, I went first to said Quarterly Meet- 
ing, which was large. Several weighty matters 
came under consideration and debate, and the Lord 
was pleased to qualify some of his servants with 
strength and firmness to bear the burden of the 
day. Though I said but little, my mind was deeply 
exercised ; and, under a sense of Grod's love, in the 
anointing and fitting of some young men for his 
work, I was comforted, and my heart was tendered 
before him. From hence I went to the Youth's 
Meeting at Darby, where my beloved friend and 
brother Benjamin Jones met me by an appointment 
before I left home, to join in the visit We were 
at Radnor, Merion, Richland, North Wales, Ply- 
mouth, and Abington meetings, and had cause to 
bow in reverence before the Lord, our gracious 
God, by whose help way was opened for us from 
day to day. I was out about two weeks, and rode 
about two hundred miles* 

The Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia having 
been under a concern on account of some Friends 
who this summer (1753) had bought negro slaves, 
proposed to their Quarterly Meeting to have the 
minute reconsidered in the Yearly Meeting, which 

Tlu youmcd of JvAn Woolman. 135 

was made last on that subject, and the said Quar- 
terly Meeting appointed a committee to consider it, 
and to report to their next This committee having 
met once and adjourned, and I, going to Philadel- 
phia to meet a committee of the Yearly Meeting, 
was in town the evening on which the Quarterly 
Meeting's committee met the second time, and 
finding an inclination to sit with them, I, with 
some others, was admitted, and Friends had a 
weighty conference on the subject. Soon after 
their next Quarterly Meeting I heard that the case 
was coming to our Yearly Meeting. This brought 
a weighty exercise upon me, and under a sense of 
my own infirmities, and the great danger I felt of 
turning aside from perfect purity, my mind was 
often drawn to retire alone, and put up my prayers 
to the Lord that he would be graciously pleased to 
strengthen me ; that setting aside all views of self- 
interest and the friendship of this world, I might 
stand fully resigned to his holy will 

In this Yearly Meeting several weighty matters 
were considered, and toward the last that in rela- 
tion to dealing with persons who purchase slaves. 
During the several sittings of the said meeting, my 
mind was firequently covered with inward prayer, 
and I could say with David, ^ that tears were my 
meat day and night'' The case of slave-keeping 
lay heavy upon me, nor did I find any engagement 
to speak direcdy to any other matter before the 
meeting. Now when this case was opened several 
fiuthful Friends spake weightily thereto, with which 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

I was comforted ; and feeling a concern to cast in 
my mite, I said in substance as follows : — 

" In the difficulties attending us in this life noth- 
ing is more precious than the mind of truth inwardly 
manifested ; and it is my earnest desire that in this 
weighty matter we may be so truly humbled as to 
be favored with a clear understanding of the mind 
of truth, and follow it ; this would be of more ad- 
vantage to the Society than any medium not in the 
clearness of Divine wisdom. The case is difficult to 
some who have slaves, but if such set aside all self- 
interest, and come to be weaned from the desire of 
getting estates, or even from holding them together, 
when truth requires the contrary, I believe way will 
so open that they will know how to steer through 
those difficulties." 

Many Friends appeared to be deeply bowed 
under the weight of the work, and manifested much 
firmness in their love to the cause of truth and uni- 
versal righteousness on the earth. And though 
none did openly justify the practice of slave-keep- 
ing in general, yet some appeared concerned lest 
the meeting should go into such measures as might 
give uneasiness to many brethren, alleging that if 
Friends patiently continued under the exercise the 
Lord in his time might open a way for the deliver- 
ance of these people. Finding an engagement to 
speak, I said, " My mind is often led to consider 
the purity of the Divine Being, and the justice of 
his judgments ; and herein my soul is covered 
with awfulness. I cannot omit to hint of some 

Ttie youmal of yohn Woolman. 137 

cases where people have not been treated with the 
parity of justice, and the event hath been lament- 
able. Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, 
and their cries have reached the ears of the Most 
High. Such are the purity and certainty of his 
judgments, that he cannot be partial in our favor. 
In infinite love and goodness he hath opened our 
understanding from one time to another concern- 
ing our duty towards this people, and it is not a 
time for delay. Should we now be sensible of what 
he requires of us, and through a respect to the 
private interest of some persons, or through a re- 
gard to some friendships which do not stand on an 
immutable foundation, neglect to do our duty in 
firmness and constancy, still waiting for some ex- 
traordinary means to bring about their deliverance, 
God may by terrible things in righteousness answer 
us in this matter." 

Many faithful brethren labored with great firm- 
ness, and the» love of truth in a good degree pre- 
vailed. Several who had negroes expressed their 
desire that a rule might be made to deal with such 
Friends as offenders who bought slaves in fixture. 
To tliis it was answered that the foot of this evil 
would never be effectually struck at until a thorough 
search was made in the circumstances of such 
Friends as kept negroes, with respect to the right- 
eousness of their motives in keeping them, that im- 
partial justice might be administered throughout 
Several Friends expressed their desire that a visit 
mlgbt be made to such Friends as kept slaves, and 

138 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

many others said that they believed liberty was the 
negro's right ; to which, at length, no opposition 
was publicly made. A minute was made more full 
on that subject than any heretofore ; and the names 
of several Friends entered who were free to join in 
a visit to such as kept slaves. 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 139 


1758* 1759. 

Visit to the Qaarterly Meetings in Chester County. — Joins 
Daniel Stanton and John Scarborough in a Visit to such as 
kept Slaves there. — Some Observations on the Conduct 
which those should maintain who speak in Meetings for 
Discipline. ^ More Visits to such as kept Slaves, and to 
Friends near Salem. — Account of the Yearly Meeting in 
the Year 1759, and of the increasing Concern in Dirers 
Provinces to Labor against Buying and Keeping Slaves. 
— The Yearly Meeting Epistle. — Thoughts on the Small- 
Pox spreading, and on Inoculation. 

ELEVENTH of eleventh month, 1758. — ITiis 
day I set out for Concord ; the Quarterly 
Meeting heretofore held there was now, by reason 
of a great increase of members, divided into two by 
the agreement of Friends at our last Yearly Meet- 
ing. Here I met with our beloved friends Samuel 
Spavold and Mary Kirby from England, and with 
Joseph White from Buck's County ; the latter had 
taken leave of his family in order to go on a re- 
ligious visit to Friends in England, and, through 
Divine goodness, we were favored with a strength- 
ening opportunity together. 

After this meeting I joined with my friends, 
Daniel Stanton and John Scarborough, in visiting 
Friends who had slaves. At night we had a family 
meeting at William Trimble'^ many young people 

140 The youmal of yokn Woolman. 

being there ; and it was a precious, reviving oppor- 
tunity. Next morning we had a comfortable sitting 
with a sick neighbor, and thence to the burial of 
the corpse of a Friend at Uwchland Meeting, at 
which were many people, and it was a time of Di- 
vine favor, after which we visited some who had 
slaves. In the evening we had a family meeting at 
a Friend's house, where the channel of the gospel 
love was opened, and my mind was comforted after 
a hard day's labor. The next day we were at 
Goshen Monthly Meeting, and on the i8th at- 
tended the Quarterly Meeting at London Grove, it 
being first held at that place. Here we met again 
with all the before-mentioned Friends, and had 
some edifying meetings. Near the conclusion of 
the meeting for business, Friends were incited to 
constancy in supporting the testimony of truth, and 
reminded of the necessity which the disciples of 
Christ are under to attend principally to his busi- 
ness as he is pleased to open it to us, and to be 
particularly careful to have our minds redeemed 
from the love of wealth, and our outward affairs in 
as little room as may be, that no temporal concerns 
may entangle our affections or hinder us from dili- 
gently following the dictates of truth in laboring to 
promote the pure spirit of meekness and heavenly- 
mindedness amongst the children of men in these 
days of calamity and distress, wherein God is visit- 
ing our land with his just judgments. 

Each of these Quarterly Meetings was large and 
sat near eight hours. I had occasion to consider 

The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 141 

tbat it is a weighty thing to speak much in large 
meetings for business, for except our minds are 
rightly prepared, and we clearly understand the 
case we speak to, instead of forwarding, we hinder 
business, and make more labor for those on whom 
the burden of the work is laid. If selfish views or 
a partial spirit have any room in our minds, we are 
unfit for the Lord's work ; if we have a clear pros- 
pect of the business, and proper weight on our 
minds to speak, we should avoid useless apologies 
and repetitions. Where people are gathered from 
far, and adjourning a meeting of business is at* 
tended with great difficulty, it behoves all to be 
cautious how they detain a meeting, especially when 
they have sat six or seven hours, and have a great dis- 
tance to ride home. After this meeting I rode home. 

In the beginning of the twelfth month I joined, in 
company with my friends John Sykes and Daniel 
Stanton, in visiting such as had slaves. Some 
whose hearts were rightly exercised about them 
appeared to be glad of our visit, but in some places 
our way was more difficult. I often saw the neces- 
sity of keeping down to that root firom whence our 
concern proceeded, and have cause, in reverent 
thankfulness, humbly to bow down before the 
Lord, who was near to me, and preserved my 
mind in calmness under some sharp conflicts, 
and begat a spirit of sympathy and tenderness in 
me towards some who were grievously entangled 
by the spirit of this world. 

First month, 1759. — Having found my mind 

142 The youmal of yohn Woolman, 

drawn to visit some of the more active members 
in our Society at Philadelphia, who had slaves, I 
met my friend John Churchman there by agree- 
ment, and we continued about a week in the city* 
We visited some that were sick, and some widows 
and their families, and the other part of our time 
was mostly employed in visiting such as had slaves* 
It was a time of deep exercise, but looking often to 
the Lord for his assistance, he in unspeakable kind' 
ness favored us with the influence of that spirit 
which crucifies to the greatness and splendor of 
this world, and enabling us to go through some 
heavy labors, in which we found peace. 

Twenty-fourth of third month, 1759- — After at- 
tending our general Spring Meeting at Philadelphia 
I again joined with John Churchman on a visit to 
some who had slaves in Philadelphia, and with 
thankfulness to our Heavenly Father I may say 
that Divine love and a true S3rmpathizing tender- 
ness of heart prevailed at times in this service. 

Having at times perceived a shyness m some 
Friends of considerable note towards me, I found 
an engagement in gospel love to pay a visit to one 
of them ; and as I dwelt under the exercise, I felt 
a resignedness in my mind to go and tell him 
privately that I had a desire to have an oppor- 
tunity with him alone ; to this proposal he readily 
agreed, and then, in the fear of the Lord, things 
relating to that shyness were searched to the bot- 
tom, and we had a large conference, which, I be- 
lieve was of use to both of us, and I am thankfiil 
that way was opened for it 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 143 

Fourteenth of sixth month. — Having felt drawings 
in my mind to visit Friends about Salem, and hav- 
ing the approbation of our Monthly Meeting, I at- 
tended their Quarterly Meeting, and was out seven 
daySy and attended seven meetings; in some of 
them I was chiefly silent; in others, through the 
baptizing power of truth, my heart was enlarged in 
heavenly love, and I found a near fellowship with 
the brethren and sisters, in the manifold trials at- 
tending their Christian progress through this world. 

Seventh month. — I have found an increasing con- 
cern on my mind to visit some active members in 
our Society who have slaves, and having no oppor- 
tunity of the company of such as were named in 
the minutes of the Yearly Meeting, I went alone 
to their houses, and, in the fear of the Lord, ac- 
quainted them with the exercise I was under ; and 
dius, sometimes by a few words, I found myself 
discharged from a heavy burden. After this, our 
friend John Churchman coming into our province 
with a view to be at some meetings, and to join 
again in the visit to those who had slaves, I bore him 
company in the said visit to some active members, 
and found inward satisfaction. 

At our Yearly Meeting this year, we had some 
weighty seasons, in which the power of truth was 
largely extended, to the strengthening of the honest- 
minded. As the epistles which were to be sent to 
the Yearly Meetings on this continent were read, I 
observed that in most of them, both this year and 
the last| it was recommended to Friends to labor 

144 2^^^ youmal of yohn Woolntan. 

against buying and keeping slaves^ and in some of 
them the subject was closely treated upon. As 
this practice hath long been a heavy exercise to 
me, and I have often waded through mortifying 
labors on that account, and at times in some meet- 
ings have been almost alone therein, I was humbly 
bowed in thankfulness in observing the increasing 
concern in our religious society, and seeing how the 
Lord was raising up and qualifying servants for his 
work, not only in this respect, but for promoting 
the cause of truth in general. 

This meeting continued near a week. For sev- 
eral days, in the fore part of it, my mind was drawn 
into a deep inward stillness, and being at times 
covered with the spirit of supplication, my heart 
was secretly poured out before the Lord. Near the 
conclusion of the meeting for business, way opened 
in the pure Sowings of Divine love for me to ex- 
press what lay upon me, which, as it then arose in 
my mind, was first to show how deep answers to 
deep in the hearts of the sincere and upright; 
though, in their different growths, they may not all 
have attained to the same clearness in some points 
relating to our testimony. And I was then led to 
mention the integrity and constancy of many 
martyrs who gave their lives for the testimony of 
Jesus, and yet, in some points, they held doctrines 
distinguishable from some which we hold, that, in 
all ages, where people were faithful to the light and 
understanding which the Most High afforded them, 
they found acceptance with Him, and though there 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 145 \ 

may be different ways of thinking amongst us in 
some particulars, yet, if we mutually keep to that 
spirit and power which crucifies to the world, 
which teaches us to be content with things really 
needful, and to avoid all superfluities, and give up 
our hearts to fear and serve the Lord, true unity 
may still be preserved amongst us ; that if those 
who were at times under sufferings on account of 
some scniples of conscience kept low and humble, 
and in their conduct in life manifested a spirit of 
true charity, it would be more likely to reach the 
witness in others, and be of more service in the 
church, than if their sufferings were attended with 
a contrary spirit and conduct In this exercise I 
was drawn into a sympathizing tenderness with the 
sheep of Christ, however distinguished one from 
another in this world, and the like disposition 
appeared to spread over others in the meeting. 
Great b the goodness of the Lord towards his poor 

An epistle went forth from this Yearly Meeting 
which I think good to give a place in this Journal 
It is as follqws. 

Prpm tk€ Yearly Meeting held at Philadelphia^ for Pennsyl-- 
vania and New Jersey^ from the twenty-second day of the 
ninth month to the twenty-eighth of the satne, inclusive^ 1759* 


Dearly beloved Friends and Brethren, — In 
an awfiii sense of the wisdom and goodness of the 

7 J • 

146 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

Lord our God, whose tender mercies have been 
continued to us in this land, we affectionately salute 
you, with sincere and fervent desires that we may 
reverently regard the dispensations of his provi^ 
dence, and improve under them. 

The empires and kingdoms of the earth are sutv 
ject to his almighty power. He is the God of 
the spirits of all flesh, and deals with his people 
agreeable to that wisdom, the depth whereof is to 
us unsearchable. We in these provinces may say, 
He hath, as a gracious and tender parent, dealt 
bountifully with us, even from the days of our 
Others. It was he who strengthened them to labor 
through the difRculties attending the improvement 
of a wilderness, and made way for them in the 
hearts of the natives, so that by them they were 
comforted in times of want and distress. It was by 
the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit that they 
were disposed to work righteousness, and walk up- 
rightly towards each other, and towards the natives ; 
in life and conversation to manifest the excellency 
of the principles and doctrines of the Christian re- 
ligion whereby they retain their esteem, and friend- 
ship. Whilst they were laboring for the neces- 
saries of life, many of them were fervently engaged 
to promote piety and virtue in the earth, and to 
educate their children in the fear of the Lord. 

If we carefully consider the peaceable measures 
pursued in the first settlement of the land, and that 
freedom from the desolations of wars which for a 
long time we enjoyed, we shall find ourselves under 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 147 

strong obligations to the Almighty, who, when the 
earth is so generally polluted with wickedness, gives 
us a being in a part so signally favored with tran- 
quillity and plenty, and in which the glad tidings of 
the gospel of Christ are so freely published that we 
may justly say with the Psalmist, ^ \Vhat shall we 
render unto the Lord for all his benefits ? " 

Our own real good, and the good of our pos- 
terity, in some measure depends on the part we 
act, and it nearly concerns us to try our founda- 
tions impartially. Such are the different rewards of 
the just and unjust in a future state, that to attend 
diligently to the dictates of the spirit of Christ, to 
devote ourselves to his service, and to engage fer- 
vently in his cause, during our short stay in this 
world, is a choice well becoming a free, intelligent 
creature. We shall thus clearly see and consider 
that the dealings of God with mankind, in a 
national capacity, as recorded in Holy Writ, do suf- 
ficiently evidence the truth of that saying, *' It is 
righteousness which exalteth a nation " ; and though 
he doth not at all times suddenly execute his judg- 
ments on a sinful people in this life, yet we see in 
many instances that when ''men follow lying vani- 
ties they forsake their own mercies " ; and as a 
proud, selfish spirit prevails and spreads among a 
people, so partial judgment, oppression, discord, 
envy, and confusions increase, and provinces and 
kingdoms are made to drink the cup of adversity 
as a reward of their own doings. Thus the inspired 
prophet^ reasoning with the degenerated Jews, 



148 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

saith, "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, 
and thy backsliding shall reprove thee; know, 
therefore, that it is an evil thing and bitter that 
thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my 
fear is not in' thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts." 
(Jeremiah ii. 19.) 

The God of our fathers, who hath bestowed on 
us many benefits, furnished a table for us in the 
wilderness, and made the deserts and solitary places 
to rejoice. He doth now mercifully call upon us to 
serve him more faithfully. We may truly say with 
the Prophet, " It is his voice which crieth to the 
city, and men of wisdom see his name. They re- 
gard the rod, and Him who bath appointed it." 
People who look chiefly at things outward too 
little consider the original cause of the present 
troubles; but they who fear the Lord, and think 
oflen upon his name, see and feel that a wrong 
spirit is spreading amongst the inhabitants of our 
country ; that the hearts of many are waxed fat, 
and their ears dull of hearing ; that the Most High, 
in his visitations to us, instead of calling, lifteth up 
his voice and crieth : he crieth to our country, and 
his voice waxeth louder and louder. In former 
wars between the English and other nations, since 
the settlement of our provinces, the calamities at- 
tending them have fallen chiefly on other places, 
but now of late they have reached to our borders ; 
many of our fellow-subjects have suffered on and 
near our frontiers, some have been slain in battle, 
some killed in their houses, and some in their 

The Journal of yohn Woolman, 149 

fields, some wounded and left in great misery, and 
others separated from their wives and little chil- 
dren, who have been carried captives among the 
Indians. We have seen men and women who have 
been witnesses of these scenes of sorrow, and, being 
reduced to want, have come to our houses asking 
reliefl It is not long since many young men in one 
of these provinces were drafted, in order to be 
taken as soldiers ; some were at that time in great 
distress, and had occasion to consider that their 
lives had been too little conformable to the purity 
and spirituality of that religion which we profess, 
and found themselves too little acquainted with 
that inward humility, in which true fortitude to 
endure hardness for the truth's sake is experienced. 
Many parents were concerned for their children, and 
in that time of trial were led to consider that their 
care to get outward treasure for them had been 
greater than their care for their settlement in that 
religion which crucifieth to the world, and enableth 
to bear a clear testimony to the peaceable govern- 
ment of the Messiah. These troubles are removed, 
and for a time we are released from them. 

Let us not forget that ''The Most High hath 
his way in the deep, in clouds, and in thick dark- 
ness " ; that it is his voice which crieth to the city 
and to the country, and O that these loud and 
awakening cries may have a proper effect upon us, 
that heavier chastisement may not become neces- 
sary 1 For though things, as to the outward, may 
for a short time afford a pleasing prospect, yet. 

150 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

while a selfish spirit, that is not subject to the cross 
of Christ, continueth to spread and prevail, there 
can be no long continuance in outward peace and 
tranquillity. If we desire an inheritance incorrup- 
tible, and to be at rest in that state of peace and 
happiness which ever continues; if we desire in 
this life to dwell under the favor and protection of 
that Almighty Being whose habitation is in holi- 
ness, whose ways are all equal, and whose anger 
is now kindled because of our backslidings, — let us 
then awfully regard these beginnings of his sore 
judgments, and with abasement and humiliation 
turn to him whom we have offended. 

Contending with one equal in strength is an 
uneasy exercise; but if the- Lord is become our 
enemy, if we persist in contending with him who 
is omnipotent, our overthrow will be unavoidable. 

Do we feel an affectionate regard to posterity? 
and are we employed to promote their happiness ? 
Do our minds, in things outward, look beyond our 
own dissolution? and are we contriving for the 
prosperity of our children after us ? Let us then, 
like wise builders, lay the foundation deep, and by 
our constant uniform regard to an inward piety and 
virtue let them see that we really value it Let U3 
labor in the fear of the Lord, that their innocent 
minds, while young and tender, may be preserved 
from corruptions ; that as they advance in age they 
may rightly understand their true interest, may con- 
sider the uncertainty of temporal things, and, above 
all, have their hope and confidence firmly settled in 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 151 

the blessing of that Almighty Being who inhabits 
eternity and preserves and supports the world. 

In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us 
steadily bear in mind that riches possessed by chil- 
dren who do not truly serve God are likely to 
prove snares that may more grievously entangle 
them in that spirit of selfishness and exaltation 
which stands in opposition to real peace and hap- 
pinesSy and renders those who submit to the in- 
fluence of it enemies to the cross of Christ 

To keep a watchful eye towards real objects of 
charity, to visit the poor in their lonesome dwelling- 
places, to comfort those who, through the dispensa- 
tions of Divine Providence, are in strait and painful 
circumstances in this life, and steadily to endeavor 
to honor God with our substance, from a real sense 
of the love of Christ influencing our minds, is more 
likely to bring a blessing to our children, and will 
afford more satisfaction to a Christian favored with 
plenty, than an earnest desire to collect much wealth 
to leave behind us j for, '^ here we have no continu- 
ing city " ; may we therefore diligently '* seek one 
that is to come, whose builder and maker is God." 

'* Finally, brethren, ^whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are 
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever thmgs 
are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there 
be any praise, think on these things, and do them, 
and the God of peace shall be with you.'' 

(Signed by appointmenti and on behalf of said 

1 52 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

Twenty-eighth eleventh month. — This day I at- 
tended the Quarterly Meeting in Bucks County. 
In the meeting of ministers and elders my heart 
was enlarged in the love of Jesus Christ, and the 
favor of the Most High was extended to us in that 
and the ensuing meeting. 

I had conversation at my lodging with my be- 
loved friend Samuel Eastbum, who expressed a 
concern to join in a visit to some Friends in that 
county who had negroes, and as I had felt a 
drawing in my mind to the said work, I came 
home and put things in order. On nth of 
twelfth month I went over the river, and on the 
next day was at Buckingham Meeting, where, 
through the descendings of heavenly dew, my 
mind was comforted and drawn into a near unity 
with the flock of Jesus Christ. 

Entering upon this business appeared weighty, 
and before I left home my mind was often sad, 
under which exercise I felt at times the Holy Spirit 
which helps our infirmities, and through which my 
prayers were at times put up to God in private 
that he would be pleased to purge me from all 
selfishness, that I might be strengthened to dis- 
charge my duty faithfully, how hard soever to the 
natural part. We proceeded on the visit in a 
weighty frame of spirit, and went to the houses of 
the most active members who had negroes through- 
out the county. Through the goodness of the 
Lord my mind was preserved in resignation in 
times of trial, and though the work was hard to 

The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 153 

nature, yet through the strength of that love which 
is stronger than death, tenderness of heart was 
often felt amongst us in our visits, and we parted 
from several families with greater satisfaction than 
we expected 

We visited Joseph White's family, he being in 
Engl jQid ; we had also a family-sitting at the house 
of an elder who bore us company, and were at 
Makefield on a first day : at all which times my 
heart was truly thankful to the Lord who was 
graciously pleased to renew his loving-kindness 
to us, his poor servants^ uniting us togetiier in his 

In the winter of this year, the small-pox being in 
our town, and many being inoculated, of whom a 
few died, some things were opened in my mind, 
which I wrote as follows : — 

The more fully our lives are conformable to the 
will of God, the better it is for us ; I have looked 
on the small-pox as a messenger from the Almighty^ 
to be an assistant in the cause of virtue, and to in- 
cite us to consider lather we employ our time 
only in such things as are consistent with perfect 
wisdom and goodness. Building houses suitable to 
dwell in, for ourselves and our creatures ; preparing 
clothing suitable for the climate and season, and 
food convenient, are all duties incumbent on us. 
And under these general heads are many branches 
of business in which we may venture health and 
as necessity may require. 

This disease being in a house, and my busin^» 

154 l^f^^ youmal of yohn Woolman. 

calling me to go near it, incites me to consider 
whether this is a real indispensable duty ; whether 
it is not in conformity to some custom which would 
be better laid aside, or, whether it does not proceed 
from too eager a pursuit after some outward treas- 
ure. If the business before me springs not from 
a clear understanding and a regard to tha^ use 
of things which perfect wisdom approves, to be 
brought to a sense of it and stopped in my pur- 
suit is a kindness, for when I proceed to business 
without some evidence of duty, I have found by 
experience that it tends to weakness. 

If I am so situated that there appears no proba- 
bility of missing the infection, it tends to make me 
think whether my manner of life in things outward 
has nothing in it which may unfit my body to re- 
ceive this messenger in a way the most favorable 
to me. Do I use food and drink in no other sort 
and in no other degree than was designed by Him 
who gave these creatures for our sustenance ? Do 
I never abuse my body by inordinate labor, striving 
to accomplish some end which I have unwisely 
proposed ? Do I use action enough in some use- 
ful employ, or do I sit too much idle while some 
persons who labor to support me havfe too great a 
share of it ? If in any of these things I am de- 
ficient, to be incited to consider it is a favor to me. 
Employment is necessary in social life, and this in- 
fection, which often proves mortal, incites me to 
think whether these social acts of mine are real 
duties. If I go on a visit to the widows and father- 

The youmal of John Woolman. 155 

less, do I go purely on a principle of charity, free 
from any selfish views ? If I go to a religious meet- 
ing it puts me on thinking whether I go in sincerity 
and in a clear sense of duty, or whether it is not 
partly in conformity to custom, or partly from a 
sensible delight which my animal spirits feel in the 
company of other people, and whether to support 
my reputation as a religious man has no share 
in It 

Do affairs relating to civil society call me near 
this infection ? If I go, it is at the hazard of my 
health and life, and it becomes me to think seri- 
ously whether love to truth and righteousness is 
the motive of my attending ; whether the manner 
of proceeding is altogether equitable, or whether 
aught of narrowness, party interest, respect to out- 
ward dignities, names, or distinctions among men, 
do not stain the beauty of those assemblies, and 
render it doubtful ; in point of duty, whether a 
disciple of Christ ought to attend as a member 
united to the body or not Whenever there are 
blemishes which for a series of time remain such, 
that which is a means of stirring us up to look 
attentively on these blemishes, and to labor accord- 
ing to our capacities, to have health and soundness 
restored in our country, we may justly account a 
kindness from our gracious Father, who appomted 
that means. 

The care of a wise and good man for his only 
son is inferior to the regard of the great Parent of 
the universe for his creatures. He hath the com* 

156 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

mand of aM the powers and operations in nature, 
and *' doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the chiU 
dren of men." Chastisement is intended for in- 
structiony and instruction being received by gentle 
chastisement, greater calamities are prevented. By 
an earthquake hundreds of houses are sometimes 
shaken down in a few minutes, multitudes of peo- 
ple perish suddenly, and many more, being crushed 
and bruised in the ruins of the buildings, pine away 
and die in great misery. 

By the breaking in of enraged merciless armies, 
flourishing countries have been laid waste great 
numbers of people have perished in a short time, 
^d many more have been pressed with poverty 
and grief. By the pestilence, people have died so 
fast in a city, that, through fear, grief, and confu- 
sion, those in health have found great difficulty in 
burying the dead, even without coffins. By famine, 
great numbers of people in some places have been 
brought to the utmost distress, aind have pined 
away for want of the necessaries of life. Thus, 
when the kind invitations and gentle chastisements 
of a. gracious God have not been attended to, his 
sore judgments have at times been poured out 
upon people. 

While some rules approved in civil society and 
conformable to human policy, so called, are dis- 
tinguishable from the purity of truth and right-' 
eousness, — \rhile many professing the truth are 
declining from that ardent love and heavenly- 
mindedqess which was amongst the primitive fol* 

The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 157 

lowers of Jesus Christ, it is time for us to attend 
diligently to the intent of every chastisement, and 
to consider the most deep and inward design of 

The Most High^doth not often speak with an 
outward voice to our outward ears, but if we hum- 
bly meditate on his perfections, consider that he is 
perfect wisdom and goodness, and that to afflict 
his creatures to no purpose would be utterly averse 
to his nature, we shall hear and understand his 
language both in his gentle and more heavy chas- 
tisements, and shall take heed that we do not, in 
the wisdom of this world, endeavor to escape his 
hand by means too powerful for us. 

Had he endowed men with understanding to 
prevent this disease (the small-pox) by means 
which had never proved hurtful nor mortal, such 
a discoveiy might be considered as the period of 
chastisement by this distemper, where that knowl*- 
edge extended.* But as life and health are his 
giftsi and are not to be disposed of in our own 
wills^ to take upon us by inoculation when in 
health a disorder of which some die, requires great 
clearness of knowledge that it is our duty to do so^ 

* Whatever may be thought of these scruples of John 
Wodlman in regard to inoculation, his objections can 
scarcely be considered valid against vaccination, which, 
since his time, has so greatly mitigated the disease. He 
almost seems to have anticipated some such preventive. 

158 The youmal of JvAn Woo/man. 


Visit, in Company with Samuel Eastbarn, to Long Islandt 
I^hode Island, Boston, etc. — Remarks on the Slave-Trade 
at Newport ; also on Lotteries. — Some Observations on 
the Island of Nantucket. 

FOURTH month, 1760. — Having for some 
time past felt a sympathy in my mind with 
Friends eastward, I opened my concern in our 
Monthly Meeting, and, obtaining a certificate, set 
forward on the 17th of this month, in company 
with my beloved friend Samuel Eastbum. We 
had meetings at Woodbridge, Rahway, and Plain- 
field, and were at their Monthly Meeting of minis- 
ters and elders in Rahway. We labored under 
some discouragement, but through the invisible 
power of truth our visit was made reviving to 
the lowly-minded, with whom I felt a near unity 
of spirit, being much reduced in my mind. We 
passed on and visited most of the meetings on 
Long Island. It was my concern from day to day 
to say neither more nor less than what the spirit 
of truth opened in me, being jealous over myself 
lest I should say anything to make my testimony 
look agreeable to that mind in people which is not 
in pure obedience to the cross of Christ 
The spring of the ministry was often low, and 

The youmal of John Woolman. 159 

through the subjecting power of truth we were 
kept low with it ; from place to place they whose 
hearts were truly concerned for the cause of Christ 
speared to be comforted in our labors, and though 
it was in general a time of abasement of the crea- 
ture, yet through his goodness who is a helper of 
the poor we had some truly edifying seasons both 
in meetings and in families where we tarried; 
sometimes we found strength to labor earnestly 
with the unfaithful, especially with those whose 
station in families or in the Society was such that 
their example had a powerful tendency to open 
the way for others to go aside from the purity and 
soundness of the blessed truth. 
At Jericho, on Long Island, I wrote home as 

follows: — 

24th of the fourth month, 1760. 

Dearly beloved Wife! 

We are favored with health ; have been at sun- 
dry meetings in East Jersey and on this island. 
My mind hath been much in an inward, watchful 
frame since I left thee, greatly desiring that our 
proceedings may be singly in the will of our Heav- 
enly Father. 

As the present appearance of things is not joy- 
ous, I have been much shut up from outward cheer- 
frilness, remembering that promise, ''Then shalt 
thou delight thyself in the Lord " ; as this from day 
to day has been revived in my memory, I have con- 
sidered that his internal presence in our minds is a 
delight of all others the most pure, and that the 

i6o The youmal of John Woolman. 

honest-hearted not only delight in this, but in the 
effect of it upon them. He regards the helpless 
and distressed, and reveals his love to his children 
under affliction, who 'delight in beholding his be- 
nevolence, and in feeling Divine charity moving in 
them. Of this I may speak a little, for though 
since I left you I have often an engaging love 
and affection towards thee and my daughter, and 
friends about home, and going out at this time, 
when sickness is so great amongst you, is a trial 
upon me; yei I often remember there are many 
widows and fatherless, many who have poor tutors, 
many whp have evil examples before them, and 
many whose minds are in captivity ; for whose sake 
my heart is at times moved with compassion, so 
that I feel my mind resigned to leave you for a 
season, to exercise that gift which the Lord hath 
bestowed on me, which though small compared 
with some, yet in this I rejoice, that I feel love un- 
feigned towards my fellow-creatures. I recommend 
you to the Almighty, who I trust, cares for you, and 
under a sense of his heavenly love remain, 

Thy gloving husband, 


We crossed from the east end of Long Island to 
New London, about thirty miles, in a large open 
boat ; while we were out, the wind rising high, the 
waves several times beat over us, sa that to me it 
appeared dangerous, but my mind was at that time 
turned to Him who made and governs the deep^ and 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. i6i 

my life was resigned to him ; as he was mercifully 
pleased to preserve us I had fresh occasion to con* 
sider eveiy day as a day lent to me, and felt a re* 
newed engagement to devote my time, and all I 
had, to him who gave it 

We had five meetings in Narraganset, and went 
dience to Newport on Rhode Island. Our gra* 
dous Father preserved us in an humble depend- 
ence on him through deep exercises that were 
mortifying to the creaturely will. In several fami- 
lies in the country where we lodged, I felt an 
engagement on my mind to have a conference 
with them in private, concerning their slaves j and 
through Divine aid I was favored to give up 
diereto. Though in this concern I differ from 
many whose service in travelling is, I believe, 
greater than mine, yet I do not think hardly of 
them for omitting it ; I do not repine at having so 
unpleasant a task assigned me, but look with 
awfulness to him who appoints to his servants 
their respective employments^ and is good to all 
idio serve him sincerely. 

We got to Newport in the evening, and on the 
next day visited two sick persons, with whom we 
had comfortable sittings, and in the afternoon 
attended the burial of a Friend. The next day 
we were at meetings at Newport, in the forenoon 
and afternoon ; the spring of the ministry was 
opened, and strength was given to declare the 
Word of Life to the people. 

The day following we went on our journey, but 



l62 The journal of yohn Woolman. 

the great number of slaves in these parts^ and the 
continuance of that trade from thence to Guinea, 
made a deep impression on me, and my cries were 
often put up to my Heavenly Father in secret, that 
he would enable me to discharge my duty 'faith- 
fully in such way as he might be pleased to point 
out to me. 

We took Swansea, Freetown, andTauntoninour 
way to Boston, where also we had a meeting ; our 
exercise was deep, and the love of truth prevailed, 
for which I bless the Lord. We went eastward 
about eighty miles beyond Boston, taking meet- 
ings, and were in a good degree preserved in an 
humble dependence on that arm which drew us 
out ; and though we had some hard labor with the 
disobedient, by laying things home and close to 
such as were stout against the truth, yet through 
the goodness of God we had at times to partake of 
heavenly comfort with those who were meek, and 
were often favored to part with Friends in the 
nearness of true gospel fellowship. We returned 
to Boston and had another comfortable opportunity 
with Friends there, and thence rode back a day's 
journey eastward of Boston. Our guide being a 
heavy man, and the weather hot, my companion 
and I expressed our freedom to go on without him, 
to which he consented, and we respectfully took 
our leave of him ; this we did as believing the 
journey would have been hard to him and his 

In visiting the meetings in those parts we were 

The Journal of John Woolman. 163 

measurably baptized into a feeling of the state of 
the Society, and in bowedness of spirit went to the 
Yearly Meeting at Newport, where we met with 
John Storer from £ngland, Elizabeth Shipley, Ann 
Gaunt, Hannah Foster, and Mercy Redman, from 
our parts, all ministers of the gospel, of whose com- 
pany I was glad. Understanding that a large 
number of slaves had been imported from Africa 
into that town, and were then on sale by a mem- 
ber of our Society, my appetite failed, and I grew 
outwardly weak, and had a feeling of the condition 
of Habakkuk, as thus expressed, " When I heard, 
my belly trembled, my lips quivered, I trembled in 
myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble." I 
had many cogitations, and was sorely distressed. 
I was desirous that Friends might petition the 
Lq;islature to use their endeavors to discourage 
the future importation of slaves, for I saw that this 
trade was a great evil, and tended to multiply 
troubles, and to bring distresses on the people for 
whose welfare my heart was deeply concerned. 
But I perceived several difficulties in regard to 
petitioning, and such was the exercise of my mind 
that I thought of endeavoring to get an opportunity 
to speak a few words in the House of Assembly, 
dien sitting in town. 

This exercise came upon me in the afternoon 
on the second day of the Yearly Meeting, and on 
going to bed I got no sleep till my mind was 
wholly resigned thereto. In the morning I in- 
quired of a Friend how long the Assembly was 


1 64 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

likely to continue sitting, who told me it was ex* 
pected to be prorogued that day or the next As I 
was desirous to attend the business of the meeting, 
and perceived the Assembly was likely to separate 
before the business was over, after considerable 
exercise, humbly seeking to the Lord for instruC' 
tion, my mind settled to attend on the business of 
the meeting ; on the last day of which I had pre* 
pared a short essay of a petition to be presented 
to the Legislature, if way opened. And being in- 
formed that there were some appointed by that 
Yearly Meeting to speak with those in authority 
on cases relating to the Society, I opened my mind 
to several of them, and showed them the essay I 
had made, and afterwards I opened the case in the 
meeting for business, in substance as follows : — 

" I have been under a concern for some time on 
account of the great number of slaves which are 
imported into this colony. I am aware that it is a 
tender point to speak to, but apprehend I am not 
clear in the sight of Heaven without doing so. I 
have prepared an essay of a petition to be presented 
to the Legislature, if way open ; and what I have 
to propose to this meeting is that some Friends 
may be named to withdraw and look over it, and 
report whether they believe it suitable to be read in 
the meeting. If they should think well of reading 
it, it will remain for the meeting to consider whether 
to take any further notice of it, as a meeting, or 
not." After a short conference some Friends went 
out, and, looking over it, expressed their willing- 

The youmal of yohn Woolman* 165 

ness to have it read, which being done, many ex- 
pressed their unity with the proposal, and some 
signified that to have the subjects of the petition 
enlarged upon, and signed out of meeting by such 
as were free, would be more suitable than to do it 
there. Though I expected at first that if it was 
done it would be in that way, yet such was the ex- 
ercise of my mind that to move it in the hearing 
of Friends when assembled appeared to me as a 
duty, for my heart yearned towards the inhabitants 
of these parts, believing that by this trade there 
had been an increase of inquietude amongst them, 
and way had been made for the spreading of a 
spirit opposite to that meekness and humility which 
is a sure resting-place for the soul ; and that the 
oondnuance of this trade would not only render 
their healing more difficult, but would increase 
dieir malady. 

Having proceeded thus far, I felt easy to leave 
tfie essay amongst Friends, for them to proceed in 
it as they believed best And now an exercise re- 
vived in my mind in relation to lotteries, which 
were common in those parts. I had mentioned 
the subject in a former sitting of this meeting, 
when arguments were used in favor of Friends 
being held excused who were only concerned in 
such lotteries as were agreeable to law. And now, 
on moving it again, it was opposed as before ; but 
the hearts of some solid* Friends appeared to be 
united to discourage the practice amongst their 
members) and the matter was zealously handled by 

1 66 The youmal of yohn Woolman, 

some on both sides. In this debate it appeared 
very clear to me that the spirit of lotteries was a 
spirit of selfishness, which tended to confuse and 
darken the understanding, and that pleading for it 
in our meetings, which were set apart for the Lord's 
work, was not right. In the heat of zeal, I made 
reply to what an ancient Friend said, and when I 
sat down I saw that my words were not enough 
seasoned with charity. After this I spoke no 
more on ,the subject. At length a minute was 
made, a copy of which was to be sent to their 
several Quarterly Meetings, inciting Friends to 
labor to discourage the practice amongst all pro- 
fessing with us. 

Some time after this minute was made I remained 
uneasy with the manner of my speaking to the an- 
cient Friend, and could not see my way clear to 
conceal my uneasiness, though I was concerned 
that I might say nothing to weaken the cause in 
which I had labored. After some close exercise and 
hearty repentance for not having attended closely 
to the safe guide, I stood up, and, reciting the pas- 
sage, acquainted Friends that though I durst not 
go from what I had said as to the matter, yet I was 
uneasy with the manner of my speaking, believing 
milder language would have been better. As this 
was uttered in some degree of creaturely abasement 
after a warm debate, it appeared to have a good 
savor amongst us. 

The Yearly Meeting being now over, there yet 
remained on my mind a secret though heavy exer' 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 167 

cise, in regard to some leading active members 
about Newport, who were in the practice of keep- 
ing slaves. This I mentioned to two ancient Friends 
who came out of the country, and proposed to them, 
if way opened, tahave some conversation with those 
members. One of them and I, having consulted 
one of the most noted elders who had slaves, he, 
in a respectful manner, encouraged me to proceed 
to dear myself of what lay upon me. Near the be- 
ginning of the Yearly Meeting, I had had a private 
conference with this said elder and his wife, con- 
cerning their slaves, so that the way seemed clear 
to me to advise with him about the manner of pro- 
ceeding. I told him I was free to have a confer- 
ence with them all together in a private house ; or 
if he thought they would take it unkind to be 
asked to come together, and to be spoken with in 
the hearing of one another, I was free to spend 
some time amongst them, and to visit them all in 
their own houses. He expressed his liking to the 
first proposal, not doubting their willingness to 
come together ; and, as I proposed a visit to only 
ministers, elders, and overseers, he named some 
others whom he desired might also be present A 
careful messenger being wanted to acquaint them 
in a proper manner, he offered to go to all their 
houses, to open the matter to them, — and did so. 
About the eighth hour the next morning we met 
in the meeting-house chamber, the last-mentioned 
country Friend, my companion, and John Storer 
with us. After a short time of retirement 

1 68 The youmal of yohn Woohnan. 

I acquainted them with the steps I had taken in 
procuring that meeting, and opened the concern I 
was under, and we then proceeded to a free confer- 
ence upon the subject My exercise was heavy, 
and I was deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, 
who was pleased to favor with the seasoning virtue 
of truth, which wrought a tenderness amongst us ; 
and the subject was mutually handled in a calm 
and peaceable spirit. At length, feeling my mind 
released from the burden which I had been under, 
I took my leave of them in a good degree of satis- 
faction ; and by the tenderness they manifested in 
regard to the practice, and the concern several of 
them expressed in relation to the manner of dis- 
posing of their negroes after their decease, I be- 
lieved that a good exercise was spreading amongst 
them ; and I am humbly thankful to God, who sup- 
ported my mind and preserved me in a good degree 
of resignation through these trials. 

Thou who sometimes traveUest in the work of the 
ministry, and art made very welc(»ne by thy friends, 
seest many tokens of their satisfaction in having 
thee for their guest. It is good for thee to dwell 
deep, that thou mayest feel and understand the 
spirits of people. If we believe truth points to- 
wards a conference on some subjects in a private 
way, it is needful for us to take heed that their kind- 
ness, their freedom, and affability do not hinder us 
from the Lord's work. I have experienced that, 
in the midst of kindness and smooth conduct, to 
speak close and home to them who entertain us, on 

The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 169 

points that relate to outward interest, is hard labor. 
Sometimes, when I have felt truth lead towards it, 
I have found myself disqualified by a superficial 
friendship; and as the sense thereof hath abased me, 
and my cries have been to the Lord, so I have been 
bumbled and made content to appear weak, or as a 
fool for his sake ; and thus a door hath been opened 
to enter upon it To attempt to do the Lord's work 
in our own way, and to speak of that which is the 
burden of the Word, in a way easy to the natural 
part, doth not reach the bottom of the disorder. 
To see the failings of our friends, and think hard 
of them, without opening that which we ought to 
open, and still carry a face of friendship, tends to 
ondermine the foundation of true unity. The oiSce 
of a minister of Christ is weighty. And they who 
now go forth as watchmen have need to be steadily 
on their guard against the snares of prosperity and 
an outside friendship. 

After the Yearly Meeting we were at meetings 
at Newtown, Cushnet, Long Plain, Rochester, and 
Dartmouth. From thence we sailed for Nantucket, 
in company with Ann Gaunt, Mercy Redman, and 
several other Friends. The wind being slack we 
only reached Tarpawling Cove the first day ; where, 
going on shore, we found room in a public-house, 
and beds for a few of us, — the rest slept on the 
floor. We went on board again about break of day, 
and though the wind was small, we were favored 
to come within about four miles of Nantucket; 
and then about ten of us got into our boat and 

I/O The youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 

rowed to the harbor before dark ; a large boat went 
off and brought in the rest of the passengers about 
midnight The next day but one was their Yearly 
Meeting, which held four days, the last of which was 
their Monthly Meeting for business. We had a 
laborious time amongst them; our minds were 
closely exercised, and I believe it was a time of 
great searching of heart The longer I was on the 
Island the more I became sensible that there was 
a considerable number of valuable Friends there, 
though an evil spirit, tending to strife, had been at 
work amongst them. I was cautious of making 
any visits except as my mind was particularly drawn 
to them ; and in that way we had some sittings in 
Friends' houses, where the heavenly wing was at 
times spread over us, to our mutual comfort My 
beloved companion had very acceptable service on 
this island. 

When meeting was over we all agreed to sail the 
next day if the weather was suitable and we were 
well ; and being called up the latter part of the 
night, about fifty of us went on board a vessel ; but, 
ihe wind changing, the seamen thought best to stay 
in the harbor till it altered, so we returned on shore. 
Feeling clear as to any fiuther visits, I spent my 
time in my chamber, chiefly alone ; and after some 
hours, my heart being filled with the spirit of sup- 
plication, my prayers and tears were poured out 
before my Heavenly Father for his help and in- 
struction in the manifold difficulties which attended 
me in life. While I was waiting upon the Lord, 

The youmal of ydhn Woolman, 171 

there came a messenger from the women Friends 
who lodged at another house, desiring to confer 
with us about appointing a meeting, which to me 
appeared weighty, as wb had been at so many 
before ; but after a short conference, and advising 
with some eldeHy Friends, a nieeting was appointed^ 
in which the Friend who first moved it, and who 
had been much shut up before, was largely opened 
in the love of the gospel. The next morning about 
break of day going again on board the vessel, we 
reached Falmouth on the Main before night, where 
our horses being brought, we proceeded towatds 
Sandwich Quarterly Meeting. 

Being two days in goiilg to Nantucket, and hav- 
ing been there once before, I observed many shoals 
in their bay, which make sailing more dangerous, 
especially in stormy nights ; also, that a great shoal, 
which encloses their harbor, prevents the entrance 
of sloops except when the tide is up. Waiting 
without for the rising of the tide is sometimes haz- 
ardous in storms, and by waiting withiii they some- 
times miss a fair wind. I took notice that there 
was on that small island a gr^at number of inhabi- 
tants, and the soil not very fertile, the timber being 
so gone that for vessels, fences, and firewood, they 
depend chiefly on buying from the Main, for the 
cost whereof, with most of their other expenses, 
they depend principally upon the whale fishery. I 
considered that as towns grew larger, and lands 
near navigable waters were more cleared, it would 
require more labor to get timber and wood. I 

1/2 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

understood that the whales, being much hunted and 
sometimes wounded and not killed, grow more shy 
and difficult to come at. I considered that the 
formation of the earth, the seas, the islands, bays, 
and rivers, the motions of the winds, and great 
waters, which cause bars and shoals in particular 
places, were all the works of Him who is perfect 
wisdom and goodness ; and as people attend to his 
heavenly instruction, and put their trust in him, 
he provides for them in all parts where he gives 
them a being ; and as in this visit to these people 
I felt a strong desire for their firm establishment 
on the sure foundation, besides what was said more 
publicly, I was concerned to speak with the women 
Friends in their Monthly Meeting of business, 
many being present, and in the fresh spring of 
pure love to open before them the advantage, both 
inwardly and outwardly, of attending singly to the 
pure guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therein to 
educate their children in true humility and the 
disuse of all superfluities. I reminded them of the 
difficulties their husbands and sons were frequently 
exposed to at sea, and that the more plain and sim- 
ple their way of living was the less need there would 
be of running great hazards to support them. I 
also encouraged the young women to continue their 
neat, decent way of attending themselves on the 
affairs of the house ; showing, as the way opened, 
that where people were truly humble, used them- 
selves to business, and were content with a plain 
way of life, they had ever had more true peace and 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 173 

calmness of mind than they who, aspiring to great- 
ness and outward show, have grasped hard for an 
income to support themselves therein. And as I 
observed they had few or no slaves, I had to en- 
courage them to be content without them, making 
mention of the numerous troubles and vexations 
which frequently attended the minds of people who 
depend on slaves to do their labor. 

We attended the Quarterly Meeting at Sand- 
wich, in company with Ann Gaunt and Mercy Red- 
man, which was preceded by a Monthly Meeting, 
and in the whole held three days. We were in 
various ways exercised amongst them, in gospel 
love, according to the several gifts bestowed on us, 
and were at times overshadowed with the virtue of 
truth, to the comfort of the sincere and stirring up 
of the negligent Here we parted with Ann and 
Mercy, and went to Rhode Island, taking one 
meeting in our way, which was a satisfactory time. 
Reaching Newport the evening before their Quar- 
terly Meeting, we attended it, and after that had 
a meeting with our young people, separated from 
those of other societies. We went through much 
labor in this town ; and now, in taking leave of it, 
though I felt close inward exercise to the last, I 
found inward peace, and was in some degree com- 
forted in a belief that a good number remain in 
that place who retain a sense of truth, and that 
there are some young people attentive to the voice 
of the Heavenly Shepherd. The last meeting, in 
which Friends from the several parts of the quarter 

174 ^^ youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 

came together, was a select meeting, and through 
the renewed manifestation of the Father's love the 
hearts of the sincere were united together. 

The poverty of spirit and inward weakness, with 
which I was much tried the fore part of this journey, 
t has of late appeared to me a dispensation of kind- 
ness. Appointing meetings never appeared more 
weighty to me, and I was led into a deep search, 
whether in all things my mind was resigned to the 
will of God ; often querying with myself what should 
be the cause of such inward poverty, and greatly 
desiring that no secret reserve in my heart might 
binder my access to the Divine fountain. In these 
bumbling times I was made watchful, and excited 
to attend to the secret movings of the heavenly 
principle in my mind, which prepared the way to 
some duties, that, in more easy and prosperous 
times as to the outward, I believe I should have 
been in danger of omitting. 

From Newport we went to Greenwich, Shanticut, 
and Warwick, and were helped to labor amongst 
Friends in the love of our gracious Redeemer. 
Afterwards, accompanied by our friend John Casey 
from Newport, we rode through Connecticut to 
Oblong, visited the meetings in those parts, and 
thence proceeded to the Quarterly Meeting at Rye- 
woods. Through the gracious extendings of Divine 
help, we had some seasoning opportunities in those 
places. We also visited Friends at New York and 
Flushing, and thence to Rahway. Here our roads 
parting, I took leave of my beloved companion and 

The youmal of yohn IVoolman* 175 

true yokemate Samuel Eastburn, and reached home 
the loth of eighth month, where I found my family 
welL For the favors and protection of the Lord, 
both inward and outward, extended to me in this 
journey, my heart is humbled in grateful acknowl- 
edgments, and I find renewed desires to dwell and 
walk in resignedness before him. 

1/6 The youmal of John Woolman. 

1 761, 1762. 

Visits Pennsylvania, Shrewsbury, and Squan. — Publishes 
the Second Part of his Considerations on keeping Negroes. 
— The Grounds of his appearing in some Respects singular 
in his Dress. — Visit to the Families of Friends of Ancocas 
and Mount Holly Meetings. — Visits to the Indians at 
Wehaloosing on the River Susquehanna. 

HAVING felt my mind drawn towards a visit 
to a few meetings in Pennsylvania, I was 
very desirous to be rightly instructed as to the time 
of setting off. On the loth of fifth month, 1761, 
being the first day of the week, I went to Haddon- 
field Meeting, concluding to seek for heavenly in- 
struction, and come home, or go on, as I might 
then believe best for me, and there through the 
springing up of pure love I felt encouragement, and 
so crossed the river. In this visit I was at two 
quarterly and three monthly meetings, and in the 
love of truth I felt my way open to labor with some 
noted Friends who kept negroes. As I was favored 
to keep to the root, and endeavor to discharge what 
I believed was required of me, I found inward peace 
therein, from time to time, and thankfulness of 
heart to the Lord, who was graciously pleased to 
be a guide to me. 

Eighth month, 1761. — Having felt drawings in 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 177 

my mind to visit Friends in and about Shrewsbury, 
I went there, and was at their Monthly Meeting, 
and their first-day meeting ; I had also a meeting at 
Squan, and another at Squanquam, and, as way 
opened, had conversation with some noted Friends 
concerning their slaves. I returned home in a 
thankful sense of the goodness of the Lord. 

From the concern I felt growing in me for some 
]rears, I wrote part the second of a work entitled 
** Considerations on keeping Negroes," which was 
printed this year, 1762. When the overseers of 
the press had done with it, they offered to get a 
number printed, to be paid for out of the Yearly 
Meeting's stock, to be given away ; but I being most 
easy to publish it at my own expense, and offering 
my reasons, they appeared satisfied. 

This stock is the contribution of the members of 
our religious society in general, among whom are 
some who keep negroes, and, being inclined to con- 
tinue them in slavery, are not likely to be satisfied 
with such books being spread among a people, 
especially at their own expense, many of whose 
slaves are taught to read, and such, receiving them 
as a gift, often conceal them. But as they who 
make a purchase generally buy that which they 
have a mind for, I believed it best to sell them, 
expecting by that means they would more generally 
be read with attention. Advertisements were signed 
by order of the overseers of the press, and directed 
to be read in the Monthly Meetings of business 
within our own Yearly Meeting, informing where 

S» L 

178 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

the books were, and that the price was no more 
than the cost of printing and binding them. Many 
were taken oflf in our parts ; some I sent to Vir- 
ginia, some to New York, some to my acquaintance 
at Newport, and some I kept, intending to give 
part of them away, where there appeared a prospect 
of service. 

In my youth I was used to hard labor, and though 
I was middling healthy, yet my nature was not fitted 
to endure so much as many others. Being often 
weary, I was prepared to sympathize with those 
whose circumstances in life, as free men, required 
constant labor to answer the demands of their 
creditors, as well as with others under oppression. 
In the uneasiness of body which I have many times 
felt by too much labor, not as a forced but a volun* 
tary oppression, I have often been excited to think 
on the original cause of that oppression whiqh is 
imposed on many in the world. The latter part of 
the time wherein I labored on our plantation, my 
heart, through the fresh visitations of heavenly love, 
being often tender, and my leisyf:^ time being fre- 
quently spent in reading the life and doctrines of 
our blessed Redeemer, the account of the sufferings 
of martyrs, and the history of the first rise of our 
Society, a belief was gradually settled in my mind, 
that if such as had great estates generally lived in 
tliat humility and plainness which belong to a Chrisr 
lian life, and laid much easier rents and interests 
On their lands and moneys, and thus led the way to 
a right use of things^ so great a number of people 

The youmal of yohn Woalman. 179 

might be employed in things useful, that labor both 
for men and other creatures would need to be no 
more than an agreeable employ, and divers branches 
of business, which serve chiefly to please the natural 
inclinations of our minds, and which at present seem 
necessary to circulate that wealth which some gather, 
might, in this way of pure wisdom, be discontinued. 
As I have thus considered these things, a query at 
times hath arisen : Do I, in all my proceedings, keep 
to that use of things which is agreeable to universal 
righteousness ? And then there hath some degree 
of sadness at times come over me, because I ac? 
customed myself to some things which have occa* 
sioned more labor than I believe Divine wisdom 
intended for us. 

From my early acquaintance with truth I have 
often felt an inward distress, occasioned by the 
striving of a spirit in me against the operation of 
the heavenly principle ; and in this state I have 
been affected with a sense of my own wretched- 
ness, and in a mourning condition have felt earnest 
longings for that Divine help which brings the soul 
into true liberty. Sometimes, on retiring into pri« 
vate places, the spirit of supplication hath been 
given me, and under a heavenly covering I have 
asked my gracious Father to give me a heart in all 
things resigned to the direction of his wisdom ; in 
uttering language like this, the thought of my wear- 
ing hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to 
them, has made lasting impression on me. 

In visiting people of note in the Society who had 

i8o The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

slaves, and laboring with them in brotherly love on 
that account/ 1 have seen, and the sight has affected 
me, that a conformity to some customs distinguish- 
able from pure wisdom has entangled many, and 
that the desire of gain to support these customs 
has greatly opposed the work of trutli^ Sometimes 
when the prospect of the work before me has been 
such that in bowedness of spirit I have been drawn^ 
into retired places, and have besought the Lord 
with tears that he would take me wholly under his 
direction, and show me the way in which I ought 
to walk, it hath revived with strength of conviction 
that if I would be his faithful servant I must in all 
things attend to his wisdom, and be teachable, and 
so cease from all customs contrary thereto, how- 
ever used among religious people. 

As he is the perfection of power, of wisdom, and 
of goodness, so I believe he hath provided that so 
much labor shall be necessary for men's support 
in this world as would, being rightly divided, be 
a suitable employment of their time ; and that we 
cannot go into superfluities, or grasp after wealth in 
a way contrary to his wisdom, without having con- 
nection with some degree of oppression, and with 
that spirit which leads to self-exaltation and strife, 
and which frequently brings calamities on countries 
by parties contending about their claims. 

Being thus fully convinced, and feeling an in- 
creasing desire to live in the spirit of peace, I have 
often been sorrowfully affected with thinking on the 
unquiet spirit in which wars are generally carried 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. i8i 

on, and with the miseries of many of my fellow- 
creatures engaged therein; some suddenly de- 
stroyed; some wounded, and after much pain 
remaining cripples; some deprived of all their 
outward substance and reduced to want; and 
some carried into captivity. Thinking often on 
these things, the use of hats and garments dyed 
with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more 
clothes in summer than are useful, grew more un- 
easy to me, believing them to be customs which 
have not their foundation in pure wisdom. The 
apprehension of being singular from my beloved 
friends was a strait upon me, and thus I con- 
tinued in the use of some things contrary to my 

On the 31st of fifth month, 1761, 1 was taken ill 
of a fever, and after it had continued near a week 
I was in great distress of body. One day there 
was a cry ndsed in me that I might understand the 
cause of my affliction, and improve under it, and 
my conformity to some customs which I believed 
were not right was brought to my remembrance. 
In the continuance of this exercise I felt all the 
powers in me yield themselves up into the hands 
of Him who gave me being, and was made thank- 
ful that he had taken hold of me by his chastise- 
ments. Feeling the necessity of further purifying, 
there was now no desire in me for health until the 
design of my correction was answered. Thus I lay 
in abasement and brokenness of spirit, and as I felt 
a sinking down into a calm resignation, so I felt, 

1 82 The Journal of John Woolman. 

as in an instant, an inward healing in my nature) 
and from that time forward I grew better. 

Though my mind was thus setded in relation to 
hurtful dyes, I felt easy to wear my garments here- 
tofore made, and continued to do so about nine 
months^ Then I thought of getting a hat the 
natural color of the fiir^ but the apprehension of 
being looked upon as one afifecting singularity felt 
uneasy to me. Here I had occasion to consider 
that things, though small in themselves, being 
clearly enjoined by Divine authority, becdme great 
things to us ; and I trusted that the Lord would 
support me in the trials that might attend singu- 
larity, so long as singularity was only for his sake. 
On this account I was under close exercise of mind 
in the time of our General Spring Meeting, 1762, 
greatly desjrihg to be rightly directed ; when, being 
deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, I was made 
willing to submit to what I apprehended was re- 
quired of me, and when I returned home got a hat 
of the natural color of the fur. 

In attenditig meetings this singularity was a trial 
to me, and more especially at this time, as white 
hats were used by some who were fond of following 
the changeable modes of dress, and as some 
Friends who knew not from what motives I wore 
it grew shy of me, I felt my way for a time shut 
up in the exercise of the ministry. In this con- 
dition, my mind being turned toward my Heavenly 
Father with fervent cries that I might be pre- 
served to walk before him in the meekness of wiS' 

The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 183 

dom, my heart was often tender in meetings, and t 
felt an inward consolation which to me was vexy 
precious under these difficulties. 

I had several dyed garments fit for use which I 
believed it best to wear till I had occasion for new 
ones. Some Friends were apprehensive that my 
wearing such a hat savored of an affected singu- 
larity ; those who spoke with me in a friendly way 
I generally informed, in a few words, that I believed 
my wearing it was not in my own will. I had at 
times been sensible that a superficial friendship had 
been dangerous to me; and many Friends being 
now uneasy with me, I had an inclination to ac- 
quaint some with the manner of my being led into 
these things ; yet upon a deeper thought I was for a 
time most easy to omit it, believing the present dis- 
pensation was profitable, and trusting that if 1 kept 
my place the Lord in his own time would open the 
hearts of Friends towards me. I have since had 
cause to admire his goodness and loving-kindness 
in leading about and instructing me, and in opening 
and enlarging my heart in some of our meetings. 

In the eleventh month this year, feeling an en- 
gagement of mind to visit some families in Mans- 
field, I joined my beloved friend Benjamin Jones, 
and we spent a few days together in that service. 
In the second month, 1763, 1 joined, in company 
with Elizabeth Smith and Mary Noble, in a visit to 
the families of Friends at Anoocas. In both these 
▼istts, through the baptizing power of truth, the 
sincere laborers were often comforted, and the 

184 The Journal of John Woolman. 

hearts of Friends opened to receive us. In the 
fourth month following, I accompanied some Friends 
in a visit to the families of Friends in Mount Holly ; 
during this visit my mind was often drawn into an 
inward awfulness, wherein strong desires were 
raised for the everlasting welfare of my fellow- 
creatures, and through the kindness of our Heav- 
enly Father our hearts were at times enlarged, and 
Friends were invited, in the flowings of Divine love, 
to attend to that which would settle them on the 
sure foundation. 

Having for many years felt love in my heart to- 
wards the natives of this land who dwell far back 
in the wilderness, whose ancestors were formerly the 
owners and possessors of the land where we dwell, 
and who for a small consideration assigned their 
inheritance to us, and being at Philadelphia in the 
8th month, 1761, on a visit to some Friends who 
had slaves, I fell in company with some of those 
natives who lived on the east branch of the river 
Susquehanna, at an Indian town called Weha- 
loosing, two hundred miles from Philadelphia. In 
conversation with them by an interpreter, as also 
by observations on their countenances and conduct, 
I believed some of them were measurably acquaint- 
ed with that Divine power which subjects the rough 
and froward will of the creature. At times I felt 
inward drawings towards a visit to that place, which 
I mentioned to none except my dear wife until it 
came to some ripeness. In the winter of 1762 I 
laid my prospects before my friends at our Monthly 

Tie youmal of JvAn Woolman, 185 

snd Quarterly, and afterwards at our Genera} Spring 
M e et i ng ; and having the unity of Friends, and be- 
ing dioughtful about an Indian pilot, there came a, 
man and three women from a little beyond that 
town to Philadelphia on busine3S. Being informed 
tiiereof by letter, I met them in town in the 5th 
month, 1763 ; and after some conversation, finding 
they were sober people, I, with the concurrence of 
Friends in that place, agreed to join them as com- 
panions in their return, and we appointed to meet 
at Samuel Foulk's, at Richland, in Bucks County, 
on the 7th of sixth month. Now, as this visit felt 
weighty, and was performed at a time when travel- 
ling appeared perilous, so the dispensations of Di- 
vine Providence in preparing my mind for it have 
been memorable, and I believe it good for me to 
give some account thereofl 

After I had given up to go, the thoughts of the 
journey were often attended with unusual sadness ; 
at which times my heart was frequently turned to 
tiie Lord with inward breathings for his heavenly 
support, that I might not fail to follow him wheref> 
soever he might lead me. Being at our youth's 
meeting at Chesterfield, about a week before the 
time I elected to set ofi^ I was there led to speak 
on that prayer of our Redeemer to the Father : '* I 
p»y not that thou shouldest take them out of the 
world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the 
cviL" And in attending to the pure openings of 
truth, I had to mention what he elsewhere said to 
his Father : ** I know that thou hearest me at all 

1 86 Tlie Journal of John Woolman. 

times " ; so, as some of his followers kept their 
places, and as his prayer was granted, it followed 
necessarily that they were kept from evil ; and as 
some of those met with great hardships and afflic- 
tions in this world, and at last sufifered death by 
cruel men, so it appears that whatsoever befalls 
men while they live in pure obedience to God cer- 
tainly works for their good, and may not be consid- 
ered an evil as it relates to them. As I spake on 
this subject my heart was much tendered, and great 
awfulness came over me. On the first day of the 
week, being at our own afternoon meeting, and my 
heart being enlarged in love, I was led to speak on 
the care and protection of the Lord over his people, 
and to make mention of that passage where a band 
of Syrians, who were endeavoring to take captive 
the prophet, were disappointed ; and how the Psalm- 
ist said, '* The angel of the Lord encampeth round 
about them that fear him." Thus, in true love and 
tenderness, I parted from Friends, expecting the next 
morning to proceed on my journey. Being weary 
I went early to bed. After I had been asleep a 
short time I was awoke by a man calling at my 
door, and inviting me to meet some Friends at a 
public-house in our town, who came from Phila- 
delphia so late that Friends were generally gone to 
bed. These Friends informed me that an express 
had arrived the last morning from Pittsburg, and 
brought news that the Indians had taken a fort from 
the English westward, and had slain and scalped 
some English people near the said Pittsburg, and ia 

The youmal of John Woolman. 187 

divers places. Some elderly Friends in Philadelphia, 
knowing the time of my intending to set off, had 
conferred together, and thought good to inform me 
of these things before I left home, that I might 
consider them and proceed as I believed best. 
Going to bed again, I told not my wife till morn- 
ing. My heart was turned to the Lord for his 
heavenly instruction ; and it was an humbling time 
to me. When I told my dear wife, she appeared 
to be deeply concerned about it ; but in a few 
hours' time my mind became settled in a belief 
that it was my duty to proceed on my journey, and 
she bore it with a good degree of resignation. In 
this conflict of spirit there were great searchings of 
heart and strong cries to the Lord, that no motion 
might in the least degree be attended to but that 
of the pure spirit of truth. 

The subjects before mentioned, on which I had 
80 lately spoken in public, were now fresh before 
me, and I was brought inwardly to commit myself 
to the Lord, to be disposed of as he saw best I 
took leave of my family and neighbors in much 
bowedness of spirit, and went to our Monthly Meet- 
ing at Burlington. After taking leave of Friends 
there, I crossed the river, accompanied by my 
friends Israel and John Pemberton ; and parting 
the next morning with Israel, John bore me com- 
pany to Samuel FouUc's, where I met the before- 
mentioned Indians ; and we were glad to see each 
other. Here my friend Benjamin Parvin met me, 
and proposed joining me as a companion, ^- we had 

1 88 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

before exchanged some' letters ou the subject, -^and 
now I had a sharp trial on his account ; for, as the 
journey appeared perilous, I thought if he went 
chiefly to bear me company, and we should be 
taken captive, my having been the means of draw- 
ing him into these difficulties would add to my own 
afflictions ; so I told him my mind freely, and let 
him know that I was resigned to go alone ; but 
after all, if he really believed it to be his duty to go 
on, I believed his company would be very comfort- 
able to me. It was, indeed, a time of deep exer- 
cise, and Benjamin appeared to be so fastened to 
the visit that he could not be easy to leave me ; so 
we went on, accompanied by our friends John Pem- 
berton and William Lightfoot of Pikeland. We 
lodged at Bethlehem, and there parting with John, 
William and we went forward on the 9th of the sixth 
month, and got lodging on the iSoor of a bouse, 
about five miles from Fort Allen. Here we parted 
with William, and at this place we met with an 
Indian trader lately come from Wyoming* In con- 
versation with him, I perceived diat many white 
people oflen sell rum to the Indians, which I believe 
is a great evil. In the first place, they are thereby 
deprived of the use of reason, and, their spirits being 
violently agitated, quarrels often arise which end 
in mischief, and the bitterness and resentment oc- 
casioned hereby are frequently of long continuance. 
Again, their skins and furs, gotten through much 
fatigue and hard travels in hunting, with which, they 
intended to buy clothing, they often sell at a low 

The Journal of Jokn Woolman, 189 

rate for more mm, when they become intoxicated ; 
and afterward, when they suffer for want of the 
necessaries of life, are angry with those who, for 
the sake of gain, took advantage of their weakness. 
Their chiefe have often complained of this in their 
treaties with the English. Where cunning people 
pass counterfeits and impose on others that which 
b good for nothing, it is considered as wickedness ; 
but for the sake of gain to sell that which we know 
does people harm, and which often works their ruin, 
manifests a hardened and corrupt heart, and is an 
evil which demands the care of all true lovers of 
virtue to suppress. While my mind this evening 
was thus employed, I also remembered that the 
people on the frontiers, among whom this evil is too 
conuaon, are often poor ; and that they venture to 
the outside of a colony in order to live more inde- 
pendently of the wealthy, who often set high rents 
on their land. I vras renewedly confirmed in a be- 
lief^ that if all our inhabitants lived according to 
sound wisdom, laboring to promote universal love 
and righteousness, and ceased from every inordi- 
nate desire after wealth, and from all customs which 
are tinctured with luxury, the way would be easy for 
our inhabitants, though they'might be much more 
numerous than at present, to live comfortably on 
honest employments, without the temptation they 
are so often under of being drawn into schemes to 
make settlements on lands which have not been 
purchased of the Indians, or of applying to that 
wicked practice of selling rum to them. 

igo The youmal of yohn Wooltnan, 

Tenth of sixth month. — We set out early this 
morning and crossed the western branch of Dela- 
ware, called the Great Lehie, near Fort Allen. The 
water being high, we went over in a canoe. Here 
we met an Indian, had friendly conversation with 
him, and gave him some biscuit ; and he, having 
killed a deer, gave some of it to the Indians with 
us. After travelling some miles,^ we met several 
Indian men and women with, a cow and horse, and 
some household goods, who were lately come from 
their dwelling at Wyoming, and were going to settle 
at another place. We made them some small pres- 
ents, and, as some of them understood English, I 
told them my motive for coming into their country, 
with which they appeared satisfied. One of our 
guides talking awhile with an ancient woman con- 
cerning us, the poor old woman came to my com- 
panion and me and took her leave of us with an 
appearance of sincere afifection. We pitched our 
tent near the banks of the same river, having labored 
hard in crossing some of those mountains called 
the Blue Ridge. The roughness of the stones and 
the cavities between them, with the steepness of 
the hills, made it appear dangerous. But we were 
preserved in safety, through the kindness of Him 
whose works in these mountainous deserts appeared 
awful, and towards whom my heart was turned 
during this day's travel. 

Near our tent, on the sides of large trees peeled 
for that purpose, were various representations of 
men going to and returning from the wars, and of 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 191 

some being killed in battle. This was a path here- 
tofore used by warriors, and as I walked about 
viewing those Indian histories, which were painted 
mostly in red or black, and thinking on the innu- 
merable afflictions which the proud, fierce spirit 
produceth in the world, also on the toils and fa* 
tigues of warriors in travelling over mountains and 
deserts ; on their miseries and distresses when far 
from home and wounded by their enemies; of 
their bruises and great weariness in chasing one 
another over the rocks and mountains ; of the rest' 
less, unquiet state of mind of those who live in 
this spirit, and of the hatred which mutually grows 
up in the minds of their children, — the desire to 
cherish the spirit of love and peace among these 
people arose very fresh in me. This was the first 
night that we lodged in the woods, and being wet 
with travelling in the rain, as were also our blan- 
kets, the ground, our tent, and the bushes under 
which we purposed to lay, all looked discouraging ; 
but I believed that it was the Lord who had thus 
fax brought me forward, and that he would dispose 
of me as be saw good, and so I felt easy. We 
kindled a fire, with our tent open to it, then laid 
some bushes next the ground, and put our blankets 
upon them for our bed, and, lying down, got some 
sleep. In the morning, feeling a little unwell, I 
went into the river ; the water was cold, but soon 
after I felt firesh and well. About eight o'clock we 
set forward and crossed a high mountain supposed 
to be upward of four miles over, the north side be- 

192 The Journal of yohn Woolman. 

ing the steepest About noon we were overtaken by 
one of the Moravian brethren going to Wehaloos- 
ing, and an Indian man with him who could talk 
English ; and we being together while otir horses 
ate grass had some friendly conversation ; but they, 
travelling faster than we, soon left us. This Mora- 
vian, I understood, had this spring spent some 
time at Wehaloosing, and was invited by some of 
the Indians to come again. 

Twelfth of sixth month teing the first of the 
week and a rainy day, we continued in our tent, 
and I was led to think on the nature of the exer- 
cise which hath attended me. Love was the first 
motion, and thence a concern arose to spend some 
time with the Indians, that I might feel and under- 
stand their life and the spirit they live in, if haply I 
might receive some instruction from therti, or they 
might be in any degree helped forward by my fol- 
lowing the leadings of truth among them ; and as 
it pleased the Lord to make way for my goihg at a 
time when the troubles of war were increasing, and 
when, by reason of much wet wieather, travelling 
was more difficult than usual at that^ season, I 
looked upon it as a more favorable opportunity to 
season my mind, and to bring me into a nearer 
sympathy with them. As mine eye was to the 
great Father of Mercies, humbly desiring to le^m 
his will concerning me, I was made quiet and 

Our guide's horse strayed, though hoppled, in 
the night, and after searching some time for him 


The youmal of yohn Woolman. 193 

his footsteps were discovered in the path going 
back, whereupon my kind companion went off in 
the rain, and after about seven hours returned with 
him. Here we lodged again, tying up our horses 
before we went to bed, and loosing them to feed 
about break of day. 

Thirteenth of sixth month. — The sun appearing, 
we set forward, and as I rode over the barren hills my 
meditations were on the alterations in the circum- 
stances of the natives of this land since the coming 
in of the English. The lands near the sea are con- 
veniently situated for fishing; the lands near the 
rivers, where the tides flow, and some above, are 
in many places fertile, and not mountainous, while 
the changing of the tides makes passing up and 
down easy with any kind of ttaffia The natives 
have in some places, for trifling considerations, sold 
their inheritance so favorably situated, and in other 
places have been driven back by superior force; 
their way of clothing themselves is also altered 
from what it was, and they being far removed from 
Qs have to pass over mountains, swamps, and 
barren deserts, so that travelling is very trouble- 
some in bringing their skins and furs to trade with 
OS. By the extension of English settlements, and 
partly by the increase of English hunters, the wild 
beasts on which the natives chiefly depend for sub- 
sistence are not so plentiful as they were, and peo- 
ple too often, for the sake of gain, induce them to 
waste their skins and furs in purchasing a liquor 
which tends to the ruin of them and their families. 
9 M 

194 ^^^ Journal of John Woolman. 

My own will and desires were now very much 
broken, and my heart was with much earnestness 
turned to the Lord, to whom alone I looked for 
help in the dangers before me. I had a prospect 
of the English along the coast for upwards of nine 
hundred miles, where I travelled, and their favor- 
able situation and the difficulties attending the 
natives as well as the negroes in many places were 
open before me. A weighty and heavenly care 
came over my mind, and love filled my heart to- 
wards all mankind, in which I felt a strong engage' 
ment that we might be obedient to the Lord while 
in tender mercy he is yet calling to us, and that we 
might so attend to pure universal righteousness as 
to give no just cause of offence to the gentiles, who 
do not profess Christianity, whether they be the 
blacks from Africa, or the native inhabitants of this 
continent. Here I was led into a close and labori- 
ous inquiry whether I, as an individual, kept clear 
from all things which tended to stir up or were 
connected with wars, either in this land or in 
Africa; my heart was deeply concerned that in 
future I might in all things keep steadily to the 
pure truth, and live and walk in the plainness and 
simplicity of a sincere follower of Christ. In this 
lonely journey I did greatly bewail the spreading 
of a wrong spirit, believing that the prosperous, 
convenient situation of the English would require a 
constant attention in us to Divine love and wisdom, 
in order to their being guided and supported in a 
way answerable to the will of that good^ gracious. 

The youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 195 

and Almighty Being, who hath an equal regard to 
all mankind. And here luxury and covetousness, 
with the numerous oppressions and other evils at- 
tending them, appeared very afflicting to me, and I 
felt in that which is immutable that the seeds of 
great calamity and desolation are sown and grow- 
ing fast on this continent Nor have I words suf- 
ficient to set forth the longing I then felt, that we 
who are placed along the coast, and have tasted 
the love and goodness of God, might arise in the 
strength thereof, and like faithful messengers labor 
to check the growth of these seeds, that they may 
not ripen to the ruin of our posterity. 

On reaching the Indian settlement at Wyoming^ 
we were told that an Indian runner had been at 
fliat place a day or two before us, and brought 
news of the Indians having taken an English fort 
westward, and destroyed the people, and that they 
were endeavoring to take another ; also that an- 
other Indian runner came there about the middle 
of the previous night from a town about ten miles 
from Wehaloosing, and brought the news that some 
Indian warriors from distant parts came to that 
town with two English scalps, and told the people 
that it was war with the English. 

Our guides took us to the house of a very ancient 
man. Soon after we had put in our baggage there 
came a man from another Indian house some dis- 
tance oK Perceiving there was a man near the 
door I went out; the man had a tomahawk 
wn^ped under his match-coat out of sight As 

196 The Journal of John Woolman. 

I approached him he took it in his hand ; I Went 
forward, and, speaking to him in a friendly way, 
perceived he understood some English. My coxn<^ 
panion joining me, we had some talk with him con* 
ceming the nature of our visit in these parts ; he 
then went into the house with us, and, talking with 
our guides, soon appeared friendly, sat down and 
smoked his pipe. Though taking his hatchet in 
his hand at the instant I drew near to him had a 
disagreeable appearance, I believe he had no other 
intent than to be in readiness in case any violence 
were offered to him. 

On hearing the news brought by these Indian 
runners, and being told by the Indians where we 
lodged, that the Indians about Wyoming expected 
in a few days to moVe to some larger towns, I 
thought, to all outward appearance, it would be 
dangerous travelling at this time. After a hard 
day's journey I was brought into a painful exercise 
at night, in which I had to trace back and view the 
steps I had taken from my first moving in the visit } 
and though I had to bewail some weakness which 
at times had attended me, yet I could not find that 
I had ever given way to wilful disobedience. Be* 
lieving I had, under a sense of duty, come thus fer, 
I was now earnest in spirit, beseeching the Loud to 
show me what I ought to do* In this great dis* 
tress I grew jealous of myself, lest the desire of 
reputation as a man firmly settled to persevere 
through dangers, or the fear of disgrace from my 
returning without performing the visit, might have 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman^ 197 

some place in me. Full of these thoughts, I lay 
great part of the night, while my beloved compan- 
ion slept by me, till the Lord, my gracious Father, 
who saw the conflicts of my soul, was pleased to 
give quietness. Then I was again strengthened to 
commit my life, and all things relating thereto, into 
his heavenly hands, and got a little sleep towards day. 
Fourteenth of sixth month. -^ We sought out and 
visited all the Indians hereabouts that we could 
meet with, in number about twenty. They were 
diiefly in one place, about a mile from where w$ 
lodged. I expressed to them the care I had on my 
mind for their good, and told them that true love 
had made me willing thus to leave my family to 
come and see the Indians and speak with them in 
their houses. Some of them appeared kind and 
friendly. After taking leave of them, we went up 
the river Susquehanna about three miles, to the 
house of an Indian called Jacob January. He had 
killed his hog, and the women were making store 
of bread and preparing to move up the river. Here 
oar pilots had left their canoe when they came 
down in the spring, and lying dry it had become 
leaky. This detained us some hours, so that we 
bad a good deal of friendly conversation with the 
frunily ; and, eating dinner with them, we made them 
some small presents. Then putting our baggage 
into the canoe, some of them pushed slowly up the 
stream, and the rest of us rode our horses. We 
swam them over a creek called Lahawahamunk, 
and pitched our tent above it in the evening. In a 

198 The youmal of John Woolman. 

sense of God's goodness in helping me in my dis* 
tress, sustaining me under trials, and inclining my 
heart to trust in him, I lay down in an humble, 
bowed frame of mind, and had a comfortable night's 

Fifteenth of sixth month. — We proceeded for- 
ward till the afternoon, when, a storm appearing, 
we met our canoe at an appointed place and stayed 
all night, the rain continuing so heavy that it beat 
through our tent and wet both us and our baggage. 
The next day we found abundance of trees blown 
down by the storm yesterday, and had occasion 
reverently to consider the kind dealings of the 
Lord, who provided a safe place for us in a valley 
while this storm continued. We were much hin- 
dered by the trees which had fallen across our path, 
and in some swamps our way was so stopped that 
we got through with extreme difficulty. I had this 
day often to consider myself as a sojourner in this 
world. A belief in the all-sufficiency of God to 
support his people in their pilgrimage felt comfort- 
able to me, and I was industriously employed to 
get to a state of perfect resignation. 

We seldom saw our canoe but at appointed 
places, by reason of the path going off from the 
river. This afternoon Job Chilaway, an Indian 
from Wehaloosing, who talks good English and 
is acquainted with several people in and about 
Philadelphia, met our people on the river. Under- 
standing where we expected to lodge, he pushed 
back about six miles, and came to us after night ; 

The youmal of John Woolman. 199 

and in a wh'ile our own canoe arrived, it being hard 
work pushing up the stream. Job told us that an 
Indian came in haste to their town yesterday and 
told them that three warriors from a distance 
lodged in a town above Wehaloosing a few nights 
past, and that these three men were going against 
the English at Juniata. Job was going down the 
river to the province-store at Shamokin. Though 
I was so far favored with health as to continue 
travelling, yet, through the various difficulties in 
our journey, and the different way of living from 
which I had been used to, I grew sick. The news 
of these warriors being on their march so near us, 
and not knowing whether we might not fall in with 
them, was a fresh trial of my faith ; and though, 
through the strength of Divine love, I had several 
times been enabled to commit myself to the Divine 
disposal, I still found the want of a renewal of my 
strength, that I might be able to persevere therein ; 
and my cries for help were put up to the Lord, who, 
in great mercy, gave me a resigned heart, in which 
I found quietness. 

Parting from Job Chilaway on the 17th, we went 
on and reached Wehaloosing about the middle of 
the afternoon. The first Indian that we saw was a 
woman of a modest countenance, with a Bible, who 
spake first to our guide, and then with an harmo- 
nious voice expressed her gladness at seeing us, 
having before heard of our coming. By the direc- 
tion of our guide we sat down on a log while he 
went to the town to tell the people we were come* 

20Q The youmal of John Woalman* 

My companion and I, sitting thus together in a deep 
inward stillness, the poor woman came and sat near 
us ; and, great awfulness coming over us, we rejoiced 
ip a sense of God's love manifested to our poor 
souls* After a while we heard a conch-shell blow 
several times, and then came John Curtis and 
another Indian man, who kindly invited us into 
a house near the town, where we found about sixty 
people sitting in silence. After sitting with them 
a short time I stood up^ and in some tenderness 
pf spirit acquainted them, in a few short sentences, 
with the nature of my visit, and that a concern for 
their good had made me willing to come thus &r 
to see them ; which some of them understanding 
interpreted to the others, and there appeared glad- 
ness among them. I then showed them my certifif 
Gate, which was explained to them ; and the Mo? 
ravian who overtook us on the way, being now 
here, bade me welcome. But the Indians knowing 
that this Moravian and I were of dififerent religious 
societies, and as some of their people had encour- 
aged him to come and stay awhile with them) they 
were, I believe, concerned that there might be no 
jarring or discord in their meetings ; and having, I 
suppose, conferred together, they acquainted me that 
the people, at my request, would at any time come 
together and hold meetings. They also told me 
that they expected the Moravian would speak in 
their settled meetings, which are commonly held 
in the moaning and near evening. So finding lib- 
erty in my heart to speak tp the Moravian, I told 

The youmal of John Woolman. 201 

him of the care I felt on my mind for the good of 
these people, and my belief that no ill effects would 
follow if I sometimes spake in their meetings when 
love engaged me thereto, without calling them to- 
gether at times when they did not meet of course. 
He expressed his good-will towards my speaking 
at any time all that I found in my heart to say. 

On the evening of the i8th I was at their meet- 
ing, where pure gospel love was felt, to the ten- 
dering of some of our hearts. The interpreters 
endeavored to acquaint the people with what I 
said, in short sentences, but found some difficulty, 
as none of them were quite perfect in the English 
and Delaware tongues, so they helped one another, 
and we labored along, Divine love attending. 
Afterwards, feeling my mind covered with the 
spirit of prayer, I told the interpreters that I 
found it in my heart to pray to God, and believed, 
if I prayed aright, he would hear me ; and I ex- 
pressed my willingness for them to omit interpreting; 
so our meeting ended with a degree of Divine love. 
Before the people went out, I observed Papunehang 
(the man who had been zealous in laboring for a 
reformation in that town, being then very tender) 
speaking to one of the interpreters, and I was after- 
wards told that he said in substance as follows : 
*^ I love to feel where words come from." 

Nineteenth of sixth month and first of the week. 

— This morning the Indian who came with the Mo- 

lavian, being also a member of that society, prayed 

in the meeting, and then the Moravian spake a 


202 The Journal of yohn Wooltnan. 

short time to the people. In the afternoon, voj 
heart being filled with a heavenly care for their 
good, I spake to them awhile by interpreters ; but 
none of them being perfect in the work, and I feeling 
the current of love run strong, told the interpreters 
that I believed some of the people would under- 
stand me, and so I proceeded without them ; and 
I believe the Holy Ghost wrought on some hearts 
to edification where all the words were not under- 
stood. I looked upon it as a time of Divine favor, 
and my heart was tendered and truly thankful before 
the Lord. After I sat down, one of the interpre- 
ters seemed spirited to give the Indians the sub- 
stance of what I said. 

Before our first meeting this morning, I was led 
to meditate on the manifold difficulties of these 
Indians who, by the permission of the Six Nations, 
dwell in these parts. A near sympathy with them 
was raised in me, and, my heart being enlarged in 
the love of Christ, I thought that the affectionate 
care of a good man for his only brotlier in affiiction 
does not exceed what I then felt for that people. 
I came to this place through much trouble ; and 
though through the mercies of God I believed that 
if I died in the journey it would be well with me, 
yet the thoughts of falling into the hands of Indian 
warriors were, in times of weakness, afilicting to 
me ; and being of a tender constitution of body, 
the thoughts of captivity among them were also 
grievous ; supposing that as they were strong and 
hardy they might demand service of me beyond 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 203 

what I could well bear. But the Lord alone was 
my keeper, and I believed that if I went into cap- 
tivity it would be for some good end. Thus, from 
time to time, my mind was centred in resignation, 
in which I always found quietness. And this day, 
though I had the same dangerous wilderness be^ 
tween me and home, I was inwardly joyful that the 
Lord had strengthened me to come on this visit, 
and had manifested a fatherly care over me in my 
poor lowly condition, when, in mine own eyes, I 
appeared inferior to many among the Indians. 

When the last-mentioned meeting was ended, it 
being night, Papunehang went to bed ; and hearing 
him speak with an harmonious voice, I suppose 
for a minute or two, I asked • the interpreter, who 
told me that he was expressing his thankfulness to 
God for the favors he had received that day, and 
prayed that he would continue to favor him with 
the same, which he had experienced in that meet- 
ing. Though Papunehang had before agreed to 
receive the Moravian and join with them, he still 
appeared kind and loving to us. 

I was at two meetings on the 20th, and silent in 
them. The following morning, in meeting, my 
heart was enlarged in pure love among them, and 
in short plain sentences I expressed several things 
that rested upon me, which one of the interpreters 
gave the people pretty readily. The meeting ended 
in supplication, and I had cause humbly to acknowl- 
edge the loving-kindness of the Lord towards us ; 
and then I believed that a door remained open for 

204 "^^^ yournal of John Woolman. 

the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ to labor among 
these people. And now, feeling my mind at liberty 
to return, I took my leave of them in general at the 
conclusion of what I said in meeting, and we then 
prepared to go homeward. But some of their most 
active men told us that when we were ready to 
move the people would choose to come and shake 
hands with us. Those who usually came to meet- 
ing did so j and from a secret draught in my mind 
I went among some who did not usually go to 
meeting, and took my leave of them also. The 
Moravian and his Indian interpreter appeared re« 
spectful to us at parting. This town, Wehaloosing, 
stands on the bank of the Susquehanna, and con- 
sists, I believe, of about forty houses, mostly com- 
pact together, some about thirty feet long and 
eighteen wide, — some bigger, some less. They 
are built mostly of split plank, one end being set 
in the ground, and the other pinned to a plate on 
which rafters are laid, and then covered with bark. 
I understand a great flood last winter overflowed 
the greater part of the ground where the town 
stands, and some were now about moving their 
houses to higher ground. 

We expected only two Indians to be of our com- 
pany, but when we were ready to go we found many 
of them were going to Bethlehem with skins and 
furs, and chose to go in company with us. So 
they loaded two canoes in which they desired us to 
go, telling us that the waters were so raised with 
the rains that the horses should be taken by such- 

The youmal of John Woolman. 205 

as were better acquainted with the fording-places. 
We, therefore, with several Indians, went in the 
canoes, and others went on horses, there being 
seven besides ours. We met with the horsemen 
once on the way by appointment, and at night we 
lodged a little below a branch called Tankhannah, 
and some of the young men, going out a little before 
dusk with their guns, brought in a deer. 

Through diligence we reached Wyoming before 
night, the 2 2d, and understood that the Indians 
were mostly gone from this place. We went up a 
small creek into the woods with our canoes, and, 
pitching our tent, carried out our baggage, and 
before dark our horses came to us. Next morn- 
ing, the horses being loaded and our baggage pre- 
pared, we set forward, being in all fourteen, and 
with diligent travelling were favored to get near 
half-way to Fort Allen. The land on this road 
from Wyoming to our frontier being mostly poor, 
and good grass being scarce, the Indians chose a 
piece of low ground to lodge on, as the best for 
grazing. I had sweat much in travelling, and, being 
weary, slept soundly. In the night I perceived that 
I had taken cold, of which I was favored soon to 
get better. 

Twenty-fourth of sixth month. — This day we 
passed Fort Allen and lodged near it in the woods. 
We forded the westerly branch of the Delaware 
three times, which was a shorter way than going 
over the top of the Blue Mountains called the 
Second Ridge. In the second time of fording 

2o6 The youmal of John Woolman. 

where the river cuts through the mountain, the wa- 
ters being rapid and pretty deep, my companion's 
mare, being a tall, tractable animal, was sundry 
times driven back through the river, being laden 
with the burdens of some small horses which were 
thought unable to come through with their loads. 
The troubles westward, and the difficulty for In- 
dians to pass through our frontier, was, I appre- 
hend, one reason why so many came, expecting 
that our being in company would prevent the out- 
side inhabitants being surprised. We reached 
Bethlehem on the 25 th, taking care to keep fore- 
most, and to acquaint people on and near the road 
who these Indians were. This we found very 
needful, for the frontier inhabitants were often 
alarmed at the report of the^ English being killed 
by Indians westward. Among our company were 
some whom I did not remember to have seen at 
meeting, and some of these at first were very re- 
served ; but we being several days together, and 
behaving in a friendly manner towards them, and 
making them suitable return for the services they 
did us, they became more free and sociable. 

Twenty-sixth of sixth month. — Having carefully 
endeavored to settle all affairs with the Indians 
relative to our journey, we took leave of them, and 
I thought they generally parted from us affection- 
ately. We went forward to Richland and had a 
very comfortable meeting among our friends, it 
being the first day of the week. Here I parted 
with my kind friend and companion Benjamin Far- 

The youmal of John Woolman. 207 

viiiy and, accompanied by my friend Samuel Foulk, 
we rode to John Cadwallader's, from whence I 
reached home the next day, and found my family 
tolerably well They and my friends appeared glad 
to see me return from a journey which they appre- 
hended would be dangerous ; but my mind, while I 
was out, had been so employed in striving for per- 
fect resignation, and had so often been confirmed 
in a belief, that, whatever the Lord might be pleased 
to allot for me, it would work for good, that I was 
carefrd lest I should admit any degree of selfishness 
in being glad overmuch, and labored to improve by 
those trials in such a manner as my gracious Father 
and Protector designed. Between the English set- 
tlements and Wehaloosing we had only a narrow 
path, which in many places is much grown up with 
bushes, and interrupted by abundance of trees ly- 
ing across it These, together with the mountain 
swamps and rough stones, make it a difficult road 
to travel, and the more so because rattlesnakes 
abound here, of which we killed four. People who 
have never been in such places have but an imper- 
fect idea of them ; and I was not only taught pa- 
tience, but also made thankful to God, who thus 
led about and instructed me, that I might have a 
quick and lively feeling of the afflictions of my 
fellow-creatures, whose situation in life is difficult 

2o8 The Journal of John Woolman. 


1763 -1769. 

Religious Conversation with a Company met to see the Tricks 
of a Juggler. — Account of John Smith's Advice and of the 
Proceedings of a Committee at the Yearly Meeting in 
1764. — Contemplations on the Nature of True Wisdom. 
— Visit to the Families of Friends at Mount Holly, Mans- 
field, and Burlington, and to the Meetings on the Sea- 
Coast from Cape May towards Squan. — Some Account 
of Joseph Nichols and his Followers. — On the different 
State of the First Settlers in Pennsylvania who depended 
on their own Labor, compared with those of the Southern 
Provinces who kept Negroes. — Visit to the Northern Parts 
of New Jersey and the Western Parts of Maryland and 
Pennsylvania; also to the Families of Friends at Mount 
Holly and several Parts of Maryland. — Further Consid- 
erations on keeping Slaves, and his Concern for having 
been a Party to the Sale of One. — Thoughts on Friends 
exercising Offices in Civil Government. 

THE latter part of the summer, 1763, there 
came a man to Mount Holly who had pre- 
viously published a printed advertisement that at a 
certain public-house he would show many wonder- 
ful operations, which were therein enumerated. At 
the appointed time he did, by sleight of hand, per 
form sundry things which appeared strange to the 
spectators. Understanding that the show was to 
be repeated the next night, and that the people 
were to meet about sunset, I felt an exercise on 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 2og 

that account. So I went to the public-house in the 
evening, and told the man of the house that I had 
an inclination to spend a part of the evening there ; 
with which he signified that he was content Then, 
sitting down by the door, I spoke to the people in 
the fear of the Lord, as they came together, con- 
cerning this show, and labored to convince them 
that their thus assembling to see these sleight-of-* 
hand tricks, and bestowing their money to support 
men who, in that capacity, were of no use to the 
world, was contrary to the nature of the Christian 
religion. One of the company endeavored to show 
by arguments the reasonableness of their proceed- 
ings herein ; but after considering some texts of 
Scripture and calmly debating the matter he gave 
up the point. After spending about an hour among 
them, and feeling my mind easy, I departed. 

Twenty-fifth of ninth month, 1764. — At our 
Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia this day, John 
Smith, of Marlborough, aged upwards of eighty 
years, a fisiithful minister, though not eloquent, stood 
up in our meeting of ministers and elders, and, ap- 
pearing to be under a great exercise of spirit, in- 
formed Friends in substance as follows : ** That he 
had been a member of our Society upwards of sixty 
years, and he well remembered, that, in those early 
times, Friends were a plain, lowly-minded people, 
and that there was much tenderness and contrition 
in their meetings. That, at twenty years from that 
time, the Society increasing in wealth and in some 
dq;ree conforming to the fashions of the world, 


210 The journal of yohn Woolman. 

true humility was less apparent, and their meetings 
in general were not so lively and edifying. That 
at the end of forty years many of them were grown 
very rich, and many of the Society made a specious 
appearance in the world ; that wearing fine costly 
garments, and using silver and other watches, be- 
came customary with them, their sons, and their 
daughters. These marks of outward wealth and 
greatness appeared on some in our meetings of 
ministers and elders ; and, as such, things became 
more prevalent, so the powerful overshadowings of 
the Holy Ghost were less manifest in the Society. 
That there had been a continued increase of such 
ways of life, even until the present time ; and that 
the weakness which hath now overspread the So- 
ciety and the barrenness manifest among us is 
matter of much sorrow." He then mentioned 
the uncertainty of his attending these meetings in 
future, expecting his dissolution was near; and, 
having tenderly expressed his concern for us, sig* 
nified that he had seen in the true light that the 
Lord would bring back his people from these things, 
into which they were thus degenerated, but that his 
faithful servants must go through great and heavy 

Twentieth of ninth month. — The committee ap- 
pointed by the Yearly Meeting to visit the Quar- 
terly and Monthly Meetings gave an account in 
writing of their proceedings in that service. They 
signified that in the course of the visit they had 
been apprehensive that some persons holding offices 

The youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 211 

in government inconsistent with our principles, and 
others who kept slaves, remaining active members 
in our meetings for discipline, had been one means 
of weakness prevailing in some places. After this 
report was read, an exercise revived in my mind 
which had attended me for several years, and inward 
cries to the Lord were raised in me that the fear of 
man might not prevent me from doing what he re- 
quired of me, and, standing up, I spoke in substance 
as follows : "I have felt a tenderness in my mind to- 
wardspersonsin two circumstances mentioned in that 
report ; namely, towards such active members as 
keep slaves and such as hold offices in civil govern- 
ment ; and I have desired that Friends, in all their 
conduct, may be kindly affectioned one towards an- 
other. Many Friends who keep slaves are under 
some exercise on that account j and at times think 
about trying them with freedom, but find many 
things in their way. The way of living and the 
annual expenses of some of them are such that it 
geems impracticable for them to set their slaves 
free without changing their own way of life. It has 
been my lot to be often abroad ; and I have ob- 
served in some places, at Quarterly and Yearly 
Meetings, and at some houses where travelling 
Friends and their horses are often entertained, 
that the yearly expense of individuals therein is 
very considerable. And Friends in some places 
crowding much on persons in these circumstances 
for entertainment hath rested as a burden on my 
ouiid for some years past I now express it in the 

212 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

fear of the Lord, greatly desiring that Friends here 
present may duly consider it" 

In the fall of this year, having hired a man to 
work, I perceived in conversation with him that 
he had been a soldier in the late war on this conti- 
nent ; and he informed me in the evening, in a nar- 
rative of his captivity among the Indians, that he 
saw two of his fellow-captives tortured to death in 
a very cruel manner. This relation affected me 
with sadness, under which I went to bed ; and the 
next morning, soon after I awoke, a fresh and 
living sense of Divine love overspread my mind, 
in which I had a renewed prospect of the nature 
of that wisdom from above which leads to a right 
use of all gifts, both spiritual and temporal, and 
gives content thereia Under a feeling thereof, I 
wrote as follows : — 

" Hath He who gave me a being attended with 
many wants unknown to brute creatures given me 
a capacity superior to theirs, and shown me that a 
moderate application to business is suitable to my 
present condition ; and that this, attended with his 
blessing, may supply all my outward wants while 
they remain within the bounds he hath fixed, and 
while no imaginary wants proceeding from an evil 
spirit have any place in me ? Attend then, O my 
soul! to this pure wisdom as thy sure conductor 
through the manifold dangers of this world 
} " Doth pride lead to vanity ? Doth vanity form 
^ imaginary wants ? ' Do these wants prompt men to 
exert their power in requiring more from others 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 213 

than they would be willing to perform themselves, 
were the same required of them ? Do those pro- 
ceedings beget hard thoughts ? Do hard thoughts, 
when ripe, become malice ? Does malice, when ripe, 
become revengeful, and in the end inflict terrible 
pains on our feliow-creatiures and spread desolations 
in the world ? 

'^ Do mankind, walking in uprightness, delight in 
each other's happiness? And do those who are 
capable of this attainment, by giving way to an evil 
spirit, employ their skill and strength to afflict and 
destroy one another ? Remember then, O my soul ! 
the quietude of those in whom Christ governs, and 
in ail thy proceedings feel after it 

^Doth he condescend to bless thee with his 
presence ? To move and influence thee to action ? 
To dwell and to walk in thee ? Remember then 
thy station as a being sacred to God. Accept of the 
strength freely offered to thee, and take heed that 
no weakness in conforming to unwise, expensive, 
and hard-hearted customs, gendering to discord and 
strife, be given way to. Doth he claim my body 
as his temple, and graciously require that I may be 
sacred to him? O that I may prize this favor, 
and that my whole life may be conformable to this 
character ! Remember, O my soul ! that the Prince 
of Peace is thy Lord ; that he communicates his un« 
mixed wisdom to his family, that they, living in per- 
fect simplicity, may give no just cause of offence to 
any creature, but that they may walk as He walked ! ** 

Having felt an openness in my heart towards vis* 

214 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

iting families in our own meeting, and especially in 
the town of Mount Holly, the place of my abode, I 
mentioned it at our Monthly Meeting in the fore part 
of the winter of 1764, which being agreed to, and 
several Friends of our meeting being united in the ex- 
ercise, we proceeded therein ; and through Divine fa- 
vor we were helped in the work, so that it appeared to 
me as a fresh reviving of godly care among Friends. 
The latter part of the same winter I joined my 
friend William Jones in a visit to Friends' families 
in Mansfield, in which labor I had cause to admire 
the goodness of the Lord toward us. 

My mind being drawn towards Friends along the 
sea-coast from Cape May to near Squan, and also 
to visit some people in those parts, among whom 
there is no settled worship, I joined with my be- 
loved friend Benjamin Jones in a visit to them, 
having Friends' unity therein. We set off the 24th 
of tenth month, 1765, and had a prosperous and 
very satis&ctory journey, feeling at times, through 
the goodness of the Heavenly Shepherd, the gos- 
pel to flow freely towards a poor people scattered 
in these places. Soon after our return I joined 
my friends John Sleeper and Elizabeth Smith in 
a visit to Friends' families at Burlington, there be- 
ing at this time about fifty families of our Society 
in that city ; and we had cause humbly to adore 
our Heavenly Father, who baptized us into a feel- 
ing of the state of the people, and strengthened us 
to labor in true gospel love among them. 

Having had a concern at times for several years 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 215 

)o pay a religious visit to Friends on the Eastern 
Shore of Maryland, and to travel on foot among 
them, that by so travelling I might have a more 
lively feeling of the condition of the oppressed 
slaves, set an example of lowliness before the eyes 
of their masters, and be more out of the way of 
temptation to unprofitable converse ; and the time 
drawing near in which I believed it my duty to lay 
my concern before our Monthly Meeting, I per- 
ceived, in conversation with my beloved friend John 
Sleeper, that he also was under a similar concern 
to travel on foot in the form of a servant among 
them, as he expressed it This he told me before 
he knew aught of my exercise. Being thus drawn 
the same way, we laid our exercise and the nature 
of it before Friends ; and, obtaining certificates, we 
set off the 6th of fifth month, 1766, and were at 
meetings with Friends at Wilmington, Duck Creek, 
Little Creek, and Motherkill. My heart was often 
tendered under the Divine influence, and enlaiged in 
love towards the people among whom we travelled. 
From Motherkill we crossed the country about 
ifairty-five miles to Tuckahoe, in Maryland, and had 
a meeting there, and also at Marshy Creek* At 
the last three meetings there were a considerable 
number of the followers of one Joseph Nichols, a 
preacher, who, I understand, is not in outward fel- 
lowship with any religious society, but professeth 
nearly the same principles as those of our Society, 
and often travels up and down, appointing meetings 
which many people attend I heard of some who 

2i6 The youmal of yokn Woolman. 

had been irreligious people that were now his fol- 
lowers, and were become sober, well-behaved men 
and women. Some irregularities, I hear, have been 
among the people at several of his meetings ; but 
from what I have perceived I believe the man and 
some of his followers are honestly disposed, but 
that skilful fathers are wanting among them. 

We then went to Choptank and Third Haven, 
and thence to Queen Anne's. The weather for 
some days past having been hot and dry, and we 
having travelled pretty steadily and having had 
hard labor in meetings, I grew weakly, at which I 
was for a time discouraged ; but looking over our 
journey and considering how the Lord had sup- 
ported our minds and bodies, so that we had gone 
forward much faster than I expected before we 
came out, I saw that I had been in danger of too 
strongly desiring to get quickly through the jour- 
ney, and that the bodily weakness now attending 
me was a kindness ; and then, in contrition of spir- 
it, I became very thankful to my gracious Father 
for this manifestation of his love, and in humble 
submission to his will my trust in him was renewed. 

In this part of our journey I had many thoughts 
on the different circumstances of Friends who in- 
habit Pennsylvania and Jersey from those who dwell 
in Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina. Pennsylvania 
and New Jersey were settled by Friends who were 
convinced of our principles in England in times of 
suffering ; these, coming over, bought lands of the 
natives, and applied to husbandry in a peaceable 

The yaumal of yohn Woolman. 217 

way, and many of their children were taught to la- 
bor for their living. Few of these, I believe, settled 
in any of the southern provinces ; but by the faith' 
fill labors of travelling Friends in early times there 
was considerable convincement among the inhabi- 
tants of these parts. I also remembered having 
read of the warlike disposition of many of the first 
settlers in those provinces, and of their numerous 
engagements with the natives in which much blood 
was shed even in the in&ncy of the colonies. Some 
of the people inhabiting those places, being ground- 
ed in customs contrary to the pure truth, were af- 
fected with the powerful preaching of the Word of 
life and joined in fellowship with our Society, and 
in so doing they had a great work to go through. 
In the history of the reformation from Popery it is 
observable that the progress was gradual from age 
to age. The uprightness of the first reformers in 
attending to the light and understanding given to 
them opened the way for sincere-hearted people 
to proceed further afterwards ; and thus each one 
truly fearing God and laboring in the works of 
righteousness appointed for him in his day findeth 
acceptance with Him. Through the darkness of 
die times and the corruption of manners and cus- 
toms, some upright men may have had little more 
for their day's work than to attend to the righteous 
principle in their minds as it related to their own 
conduct in life without pointing out to others the 
whole extent of that into which the same principle 
would lead succeeding ages. Thus^ for instance^ 



2i8 TJie youmal of yohn Woolman. 

among an imperious, warlike people, supported by 
oppressed slaves, some of these masters, I suppose, 
are awakened to feel and to see their error, and 
through sincere repentance cease from oppression 
and become like fathers to their servants, showing 
by their example a pattern of humility in living, and 
moderation in governing, for the instruction and 
admonition of their oppressing neighbors ; these, 
without carrying the reformation further, have, I be- 
lieve, found acceptance with the Lord. Such was 
the beginning ; and those who succeeded them, and 
who faithfully attended to the nature and spirit 
of the reformation, have seen the necessity of pro- 
ceeding forward, and have not only to instruct 
others by their own example in governing well, but 
have also to use means to prevent their successors 
from having so much power to oppress others. 

Here I was renewedly confirmed in my mind that 
the Lord (whose tender mercies are over all his 
works, and whose ear is open to the cries and 
groans of the oppressed) is graciously moving in 
the hearts of people to draw them off from the de- 
sire of wealth and to bring them into such an hum- 
ble, lowly way of living that they may see their way 
clearly to repair to the standard of true righteous- 
ness, and may not only break the yoke of oppres- 
sion, but may know him to be their strength and 
support in times of outward affliction. 

We crossed Chester River, had a meeting there^ 
and also at Cecil and Sassafras. My bodily weak- 
ness, joined with a heavy exercise of mind, was to 

The youmal of John Woolman, 219 

me an humbling dispensation, and I had a very 
lively feeling of the state of the oppressed ; yet I 
often thought that what I suffered was little com- 
pared with the sufferings of the blessed Jesus and 
many of his faithful followers ; and I may say with 
thankfulness that I was made content From Sas- 
safras we went pretty directly home, where we found 
our families well. For several weeks after our re- 
turn I had often to look over our journey; and 
though to me it appeared as a small service, and 
that some faithful messengers will yet have more 
bitter cups to drink in those southern provinces 
for Christ's sake than we have had, yet I found 
peace in that I had been helped to walk in sincerity 
according to the understanding and strength given 

Thirteenth of eleventh month. — With the unity 
of Friends at our monthly meeting, and in company 
with my beloved friend Benjamin Jones, I set out 
on a visit to Friends in the upper part of this prov- 
ince, having had drawings of love in my heart that 
way for a considerable time. We travelled as far 
as Hardwick, and I had inward peace in my labors 
of love among them. Through the humbling dis- 
pensations of Divine Providence my mind hath 
been further brought into a feeling of the difficulties 
of Friends and their servants southwestward ; and 
being often engaged in spirit on their account I be- 
lieved it my duty to walk into some parts of the 
western shore of Maryland on a religious visit 
Having obtained a certificate from Friends of our 

220 The youmal of yokn Woolman. 

Monthly Meeting, I took leave of my family under 
the heart tendering operation of truth, and on the 
2oth of fourth month, 1767, rode to the ferry oppo- 
site to Philadelphia, and thence walked to William 
Home's, at Derby, the same evening. Next day I 
pursued my journey alone and reached Concord 
Week-Day Meeting. 

Discouragements and a weight of distress had 
at times attended me in this lonesome walk, but 
through these afflictions I was mercifully preserved. 
Sitting down with Friends, my mind was turned to- 
wards the Lord to wait for his holy leadings ; and 
in infinite love he was pleased to soften my heart 
into humble contrition, and renewedly to strengthen 
me to go forward, so that to me it was a time of 
heavenly refreshment in a silent meeting. The 
next day I came to New Garden Week-Day Meet- 
ing, in which I sat in bowedness of spirit, and be- 
ing baptized into a feeling of the state of some 
present, the Lord gave us a heart-tendering season ; 
to his name be the praise. Passing on, I was at 
Nottingham Monthly Meeting, and at a meeting at 
Little Britain on first-day ; in the afternoon several 
Friends came to the house where I lodged and we 
had a littie afternoon meeting, and through the 
humbling power of truth I had to admire the lo\ing- 
kindness of the Lord manifested to us. 

Twenty-sixth of fourth month. — I crossed the 
Susquehanna, and coming among people in out- 
ward ease and greatness, supported chiefly on the 
labor of slaves, my heart was much affected, and in 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 221 

awful redredness my mind was gathered inward to 
the Lord, humbly desiring that in true resignation I 
might receive instruction from him respecting my 
duty among this people. Though travelling on foot 
was wearisome to my body, yet it was agreeable to 
the state of my mind. Being weakly, I was covered 
with sorrow and heaviness on account of the pre- 
vailing spirit of this world by which customs griev- 
ous and oppressive are introduced on the one hand, 
and pride and wantonness on the other. 

In this lonely walk and state of abasement and 
humiliation, the condition of the church in these 
parts was opened before me, and I may truly say with 
the Prophet, ^ I was bowed down at the hearing of 
it ; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.'' Under this 
exercise I attended the Quarterly Meeting at Gun- 
powder, and in bowedness of spirit I had to express 
with much plainness my feelings respecting Friends 
living in fulness on the labors of the poor oppressed 
negroes ; and that promise of the Most High was 
now revived, "I will gather all nations and 
tongues, and they shall come and see my glory." 
Here the sufferings of Christ and his tasting death 
for every man, and the travels, sufferings, and 
martyrdom of the Apostles and primitive Chris- 
tians in laboring for the conversion of the Gentiles, 
were livingly revived in me, and according to the 
measure of strength afforded I labored in some 
tenderness of spirit, being deeply affected among 
them. The difference between the present treat- 
ment which these gentiles, the negroes, receive at 

222 The youmal of yohn Woolman* 

our hands, and the labors of the primitive Christians 
for the conversion of the Gentiles, were pressed 
home, and the power of truth came over us, under 
a feeling of which my mind was united to a tender- 
hearted people in these parts. The meeting con- 
cluded in a sense of God's goodness towards his 
humble, dependent children. 

The next day was a general meeting for worship, 
much crowded, in which I was deeply engaged in 
inward cries to the Lord for help, that I might 
stand wholly resigned, and move only as he might 
be pleased to lead me. I was mercifully helped to la- 
bor honestly and fervently among them, in which I 
found inward peace, and the sincere were comforted. 
From this place I turned towards Pipe Creek and 
the Red Lands, and had several meetings among 
Friends in those parts. My heart was often ten- 
derly affected under a sense of the Lord's goodness 
in sanctifying my troubles and exercises, turning 
them to my comfort, and I believe to the benefit of 
many others, for I may say with thankfulness that 
in this visit it appeared like a tendering visitation 
in most places. 

I passed on to the Western Quarterly Meeting 
in Pennsylvania. During the several days of this 
meeting I was mercifully preserved in an inward 
feeling afler the mind of truth, and my public labors 
tended to my humiliation, with which I was con- 
tent. After the Quarterly Meeting for worship 
ended, I felt drawings to go to the women's meet- 
ing for business, which was very full; here the 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 223 

humility of Jesus Christ as a pattern for us to walk 
by was livingly opened before me, and in treating 
on it my heart was enlarged, and it was a baptizing 
time. I was afterwards at meetings at Concord, 
Middletown, Providence, and Haddonfield, whence 
I returned home and found my family well. A 
sense of the Lord's merciful preservation in this 
my journey excites reverent thankfulness to him. 

Second of ninth month, 1767. — With the unity 
of Friends, I set off on a visit to Friends in the 
upper part of Berks and Philadelphia counties ; 
was at eleven meetings in about two weeks, and 
have renewed cause to bow in reverence before the 
Lord, who, by the powerful extendings of his hum- 
bling goodness, opened my way among Friends, 
and I trust made the meetings profitable to us. 
The following winter I joined some Friends in a 
fiunily visit to some part of our meeting, in which 
exercise the pure influence of Divine love made our 
visits reviving. 

FifUi of fifth month, 1768. — I left home under 
the humbling hand of the Lord, with a certificate 
to visit some meetings in Maryland, and to proceed 
without a horse seemed clearest to me. I was at 
the Quarterly Meetings at Philadelphia and Con- 
cord, whence I proceeded to Chester River, and, 
crossing the bay, was at the Yearly Meeting at 
West River; I then returned to Chester River, 
and, taking a few meetings in my way, proceeded 
home* It was a journey of much inward waitings 
and as my eye was to the Lord, way was several 

224 ^^^ youmal of yohn Woolman. 

times opened to my humbling admiration when 
things appeared very difficult. On my return I felt 
a very comfortable relief of mind, having through 
Divine help labored in much plainness, both with 
Friends selected and in the more public meetings, 
so that I trust the pure witness in many minds was 

Eleventh of sixth month, 1769. — There have 
been sundry cases of late years within the limits of 
our Monthly Meeting, respecting the exercising of 
pure righteousness towards the negroes, in which I 
have lived under a labor of heart that equity might 
be steadily preserved. On this account I have had 
some close exercises among Friends, in which, I 
may thankfully say, I find peace. And as my medi- 
tations have been on universal love, my own con- 
duct in time past became of late very grievous to 
me. As persons setting negroes free in our prov- 
ince are bound by law to maintain them in case 
they have need of relief, some in the time of my 
youth who scrupled to keep slaves for term of life 
were wont to detain their young negroes in their 
service without wages till they were thirty years of 
age. With this custom I so far agreed that being 
joined with another Friend in executing the will of 
a deceased Friend, I once sold a negro lad till he 
might attain the age of thirty years, and applied the 
money to the use of the estate. 

With abasement of heart I may now say that 
sometimes as I have sat in a meeting with my 
heart exercised towards that awful Being who re- 

The youmal of yohn, Woolman. 225 

specteth not persons nor colors, and have thought 
upon this lad, I have felt that all was not clear in 
my mind respecting him; and as I have attended to 
this exercise and fervently sought the Lord, it hath 
appeared to me that I should make some restitu- 
tion ; but in what way I saw not till lately, when 
being under some concern that I might be resigned 
to go on a visit to some part of the West Indies, 
and under close engagement of spirit seeking to the 
Lord for counsel herein, the aforesaid transaction 
came heavily upon me, and my mind for a time was 
covered with darkness and sorrow. Under this 
sore affliction my heart was softened to receive in- 
struction, and I now first perceived that as I had 
been one of the two executors who had sold this 
lad for nine years longer than is common for our 
own children to serve, so I should now offer part 
of my substance to redeem the last half of the nine 
years ; but as the time was not yet come, I executed 
a bond, binding myself and my executors to pay to 
the man to whom he was sold what to candid men 
might appear equitable for the last four and a half 
years of his time, in case the said youth should be 
living, and in a condition likely to provide com- 
fortably for himself. 

Ninth of tenth month. — My heart hath often 
been deeply afflicted under a feeling that the 
standard of pure righteousness is not lifted up to 
the people by us, as a society, in that clearness 
which it might have been, had we been as faithful 
as we ought to be to the teachings of Christ A'*'' 

10* o 

226 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

as my mind hath been inward to the Lord, the pu- 
rity of Christ's government hath been made clear to 
my understanding, and I have believed, in the open- 
ing of universal love, that where a people who are 
convinced of the truth of the inward teachings of 
Christ are active in putting laws in execution which 
are not consistent with pure wisdom, it hath a neces- 
sary tendency to bring dimness over their minds. 
My heart having been thus exercised for several 
years with a tender sympathy towards my fellow- 
members, I have within a few months past expressed 
my concern on this subject in several meetings for 

The Journal of yohn Wooltnan. 227 

1769, 1770. 

Bodilj Indisposition. — Exercise of his Mind for the Good 
of the People in the West Indies. — Communicates to 
Friends his Concern to visit some of those Islands.— 
Preparations to embark.— Considerations on the Trade 
to the West Indies. — Release from his Concern and re- 
turn Home. — Religious Engagements. — Sickness, and 
of his Mind therein. 

TWELFTH of third month, 1769, — Having 
for some years past dieted myself on account 
of ilhiess and weakness of body, and not having 
ability to travel by land as heretofore, I was at 
times favored to look with awAilness towards the 
Lord, before whom are all my ways, who alone hath 
the power of life and death, and to feel thankful- 
ness raised in me for this his fatherly chastisement, 
believing that if I was truly hiunbled under it all 
would work for good. While under this bodily 
weakness, my mind was at times exercised for my 
fellow-creatures in the West Indies, and I grew 
jealous over myself lest the disagreeableness of the 
prospect should hinder me from obediently attend- 
ing thereto ; for, though I knew not that the Lord 
required me to go there, yet I believed that resig- 
nation was now called for in that respect Feeling 
a danger of not being wholly devoted to him, I 
was frequently engaged to watch unto prayer that I 

228 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

might be preserved ; and upwards of a year having 
passed; as I one day walked in a solitary wood, my 
mind being covered with awfulness, cries were 
raised in me to my merciful Father, that he would 
graciously keep me in faithfulness ; and it then 
settled on my mind, as a duty, to open my condi- 
tion to Friends at our Monthly Meeting, which I 
did soon after, as follows : — 

"An exercise hath attended me for some time 
past, and of late hath been more weighty upon me, 
which is, that I believe it is required of me to be 
resigned to go on a visit to some parts of the West 
Indies/' In the Quarterly and General Spring 
Meetings I found no clearness to express anything 
further than that I believed resignation herein was 
required of me. Having obtained certificates from 
all the said meetings, I felt like a sojourner at my 
outward habitation, and kept free from worldly en- 
cumbrances, and I was often bowed in spirit before 
the Lord, with inward breathings to him that I 
might be rightly directed. I may here note that 
the circumstance before related of my having, when 
young, joined with another executor in selling a 
negro lad till he might attain the age of thirty 
years, was now the cause of much sorrow to me ; 
and, after having settled matters relating to this 
youth, I provided a sea-store and bed, and things 
for the voyage. Hearing of a vessel likely to sail 
from Philadelphia for Barbadoes, I spake with one 
of the owners at Burlington, and soon after went 
to Philadelphia on purpose to speak to him again. 

The youmal of John Woolman. 229 

He told me there was a Friend in town who was 
part owner of the said vessel. I felt no inclina- 
tion to speak with the latter, but returned home. 
Awhile after I took leave of my family, and, going 
to Philadelphia, had some weighty conversation with 
the first-mentioned owner, and showed him a writ- 
ing, as follows : — 

"On the 25th of eleventh month, 1769, as an 
exercise with respect to a visit to Barbadoes hath 
been weighty on my mind, I may express some of 
the trials which have attended me, under which I 
have at times rejoiced that I have felt my own self- 
will subjected. 

" Some years ago I retailed rum, sugar, and mo- 
lasses, the fruits of the labor of slaves, but had not 
then much concern about them save only that the 
rum might be used in moderation ; nor was this 
concern so weightily attended to as I now believe 
it ought to have been. Having of late years been 
further informed respecting the oppressions too 
generally exercised in these islands, and thinking 
often on the dangers there are in connections of 
interest and fellowship with the works of darkness 
(£ph. v. 1 1), I have felt an increasing concern to 
be wholly given up to the leadings of the Holy 
Spirit, and it hath seemed right that my small gain 
from this branch of trade should be applied in 
promoting righteousness on the earth. This was 
the first motion towards a visit to Barbadoes. I 
believed also that part of my outward substance 
•hould be applied in paying my passage, if I went, 

230 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

and providing things in a lowly way for my sub- 
sistence ; but when the time drew near in which I 
believed it required of me to be in readiness, a dif- 
ficulty arose which hath been a continual trial for 
some months past, under which I have, with abase- 
ment of mind from day to day, sought the Lord for in- 
struction, having often had a feeling of the condition 
of one formerly, who bewailed himself because the 
Lord hid his face from him. During these exer- 
cises my heart hath often been contrite, and I have 
had a tender feeling of the temptations of my fellow- 
creatures, laboring under expensive customs not 
agreeable to the simplicity that 'there is in Christ' 
(2 Cor. ii. 3), and sometimes in the renewings of 
gospel love I have been helped to minister to 

" That which hath so closely engaged my mind, 
in seeking to the Lord for instruction,, is, whether, 
after the full information I have had of the oppres- 
sion which the slaves lie under who raise the West 
India produce, which I have gained by reading a 
caution and warning to Great Britain and her colo- 
nies, written by Anthony Benezet, it is right for 
me to take passage in a vessel employed in the 
West India trade. 

"To trade freely with oppressors without la- 
boring to dissuade them from such unkind treat- 
ment, and to seek for gain by such traffic, tends, I 
believe, to make them more easy respecting their 
conduct than they would be if the cause of univer- 
sal righteousness was humbly and firmly attended 

The youmal of yokn Woolman. 231 

to by those in general with whom they have com- 
merce ; and that complaint of the Lord by his 
prophet, ^ They have strengthened the hands of the 
wicked," hath very often revived in my mind. I 
may here add some circumstances which occurred 
to me before I had any prospect of a visit there. 
David longed for some water in a well beyond an 
army of Philistines who were at war with Israel, 
and some of his men, to please him, ventured their 
lives in passing through this army, and brought that 

*' It doth not appear that the Israelites were then 
scarce of water, but rather that David gave way to 
delicacy of taste ; and having reflected on the dan* 
ger to which these men had been exposed, he con* 
sidered this water as their blood, and his heart 
smote him that he could not drink it, but he poured 
it out to the Lord. The oppression of the slaves 
which I have seen in several journeys southward 
on this continent, and the report of their treatment 
in the West Indies, have deeply affected me, and a , 
care to live in the spirit of peace and minister no just 
cause of offence to my fellow-creatures having from 
time to time livingly revived in my mind, I have for 
some years past declined to gratify my palate with 
those sugars. 

*' I do not censure my brethren in these things, 
but I believe the Father of Mercies, to whom all 
mankind by creation are equally related, hath heard 
the groans of this oppressed people, and that he is 
preparing some to have a tender feeling of their 

232 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

condition. Trading in or the frequent use of any 
produce known to be raised by the labor of those 
who are under such lamentable oppression hath 
appeared to be a subject which may hereafter re- 
quire the more serious consideration of the humble 
followers of Christ, the Prince of Peace. 

''After long and mournful exercise I am now 
free to mention how things have opened in my 
mind, with desires that if it may please the Lord 
further to open his will to any of his children in 
this matter they may faithfully follow him in such 
further manifestation. 

" The number of those who decline the use of 
West India produce, on account of the hard usage 
of the slaves who raise it, appears small, even 
among people truly pious ; and the labors in Chris- 
tian love on that subject of those who do are not 
very extensive. Were the trade from this continent 
to the West Indies to be stopped at once, I believe 
many there would suffer for want of bread. Did 
we on this continent and the inhabitants of the 
West Indies generally dwell in pure righteousness, 
I believe a small trade between us might be right. 
Under these considerations, when the thoughts of 
wholly declining the use of trading-vessels and of 
trying to hire a vessel to go under ballast have 
arisen in my mind, I have believed that the labors 
in gospel love hitherto bestowed in the cause of 
universal righteousness have not reached that 
height If the trade to the West Indies were no 
more than was consistent with pure wisdom, I be- 

The yaumal cf JcJug JVo^Imam^ 233 

lieve the psissagie-iiioii^ vo^d for good reasons be 
higher than it is nov; and thepefore, laader deep 
exercise of mind, I have believed dial I shoajd not 
take advantage of this great trade and small! passage- 
money, but, as a tesdmonj in hxox of kss tradings 
should pay more than is ccnnmon for others to pay 
if I go at this time.* 

The first-mentioned owner, having read die pefc- 
per, went with me to the other owner, who also 
read over the paper, and we had some solid con- 
versation, under which I felt myself bowed in rev- 
erence before the Most High. At length one of 
them asked me if I would go and see the vesseL 
But not having clearness in my mind to go, I went 
to my lodging and retired in private under great 
exercise of mind ; and my tears were poured out 
before the Lord with inward cries that he would 
graciously help me under these trials. I believe 
my mind was resigned, but I did not feel clearness 
to proceed ; and my own weakness and the neces- 
sity of Divine instruction were impressed upon me. 

I was for a time as one who knew not what to 
do and was tossed as in a tempest ; under which 
affliction the doctrine of Christ, ** Take no thought 
for the morrow," arose livingly before me, and I 
was &vored to get into a good degree of stillness. 
Having been near two days in town, I believed my 
obedience to my Heavenly Father consisted in re- 
turning homeward; I therefore went over among 
Friends on the Jersey shore and tarried till the 
morning on which the vessel was appointed to saiL 

234 ^^ youmal of yohn Woolman. 

As I lay in bed the latter part of that night my 
mind was comforted, and I felt what I esteemed a 
fresh confirmation that it was the Lord's will that I 
should pass through some further exercises near 
home; so I went thither, and still felt like a so- 
journer with my family. In the fresh spring of 
pure love I had some labors in a private way among 
Friends on a subject relating to truth's testimony, 
under which I had ^frequently beeii exercised in 
heart for some years. I remember, as I walked on 
the road under this exercise, that passage in Ezekiel 
came fresh upon me, "Whithersoever their faces 
were turned thither they went.*' And I was gra- 
ciously' helped to discharge my duty in the fear and 
dread of the Almighty. 

In the course of a few weeks it pleased the Lord 
to visit me with a pleurisy ; and after I had lain a 
few days and felt the disorder very grievous, I was 
thoughtful how it might end. I had of late, through 
various exercises, been much weaned from the 
pleasant things of this life ; and I now thought if 
it were the Lord's will to put an end to my labors 
and graciously to receive me into the arms of his 
mercy, death would be acceptable to me ; but if it 
were his will further to refine me under afifliction, 
and to make me in any degree useful in his church, 
I desired not to die. I may with thankfulness say 
that in this case I felt resignedness wrought in me 
and had no inclination to send for a doctor, believ- 
ing, if it were the Lord's will through outward 
means to raise me up, some sympathizing Friends 

The Journal of JvAh Woolmafu 235 

would be sent to minister to me ; which accordingly 
was the case. But though I was carefully attended, 
yet the disorder was at times so heavy that I had 
no expectation of recovery. One night in particu- 
lar my bodily distress was great ; my feet grew 
cold, and the cold increased up my legs towards 
my body ; at that time I had no inclination to ask 
my nurse to apply anything warm to my feet, ex- 
pecting my end was near. After I had lain near 
ten hours in this condition, I closed my eyes, think- 
ing whether I might now be delivered out of the 
body ; but in these awful moments my mind was 
livingly opened to behold the church ; and strong 
engagements were begotten in me for the everlast- 
ing well-being of my fellow-creatures. I felt in the 
spring of pure love that I might remain some time 
longer in the body, to fill up according to my meas- 
ure that which remains of the afflictions of Christ, 
and to labor for the good of the church ; after 
which I requested my nurse to apply warmth to my 
feet, and I revived. The next night, feeling a 
weighty exercise of spirit and having a solid friend 
sitting up with me, I requested him to write what I 
said, which he did as follows : •— 

" Fourth day of the first month, 1770, about five 
in the morning. — I have seen in the Light of the 
Lord that the day is approaching when the man 
that is most wise in human policy shall be the 
greatest fool ; and the arm that is mighty to sup- 
port injustice shall be broken to pieces ; the ene- 
mies of righteousness shall make a terrible rattle. 

236 The youmal of John Woolman. 

and shall mightily torment one another; for He 
that is omnipotent is rising up to judgment, and 
will plead the cause of the oppressed ; and He com- 
manded me to open the vision.*' * 

Near a week after this, feeling my mind livingly 
opened, I sent for a neighbor, who^ at my request, 
wrote as follows ; — 

" The place of prayer is a precious habitation ; 
for I now saw that the prayers of the saints were 
precious incense ; and a trumpet was given to me 
that I might sound forth this language ; that the 
children might hear it and be invited together to 
this precious habitation, where the prayers of the 
saints, as sweet incense, arise before the throne 
of God and the Lamb. I saw this habitation to 
be safe, — to be inwardly quiet when there were 
great stirrings and commotions in the world. 

"Prayer, at this day, in pure resignation, is a 
precious place : the trumpet is sounded ; the call 
goes forth to the church that she gather to the 
place of pure inward prayer; and her habitation is 

* The reader, who may be disposed to regard this as the 
language of distempered imagination, may perhaps find a 
truer explanation of it in the late civil conflict by which " the 
arm mighty to support injustice" has been "broken in 
pieces," and in which it may be said the Lord did ''rise 
up to judgment and plead the cause of the oppressed." 

The youmcU of John Wooltnan. 237 


Embarks at Chester, with Samuel Emlen, in a Ship bound 
for London. — Exercise of Mind respecting the Hardships 
of the Sailors. — Considerations on the Dangers of train- 
ing Youth to a Seafaring Life. — Thoughts during a Storm 
aU Sea. — Arrival in London. 

HAVING been some time under a religious 
concern to prepare for crossing the seas, in 
order to visit Friends in the northern parts of Eng- 
land, and more particularly in Yorkshire, after con- 
sideration I thought it expedient to inform Friends 
of it at our Monthly Meeting at Burlington, who, 
having unity with me therein, gave me a certificate. 
I afterwards communicated the same to our Quar- 
terly Meeting, and they likewise certified their con- 
currence. Some time after, at the General Spring 
Meeting of ministers and elders, I thought it my 
duty to acquaint them with the religious exercise 
which attended my mind ; and they likewise signi- 
fied their unity therewith by a certificate, dated the 
24th of third month, 1773, directed to Friends in 
Great Britain. 

In the fourth month following I thought the time 
was come for me to make some inquiry for a suita* 
ble conveyance ; and as my concern was principally 
towards the northern parts of England, it seemed 

238 The yourtial of yohn Woolman. 

most proper to go in a vessel bound to Liverpool 
or Whitehaven. While I was at Philadelphia de- 
liberating on this subject I was informed that my 
beloved friend Samuel Emlen, junior, intended to 
go to London, and had taken a passage for himself 
in the cabin of the ship called the Mary and Eliza- 
beth, of which James Sparks was master, and John 
Head, of the city of Philadelphia, one of the own- 
ers ; and feeling a draught in my mind towards the 
steerage of the same ship, I went first and opened 
to Samuel the feeling I had concerning it. 

My beloved friend wept when I spake to him, and 
appeared glad that I had thoughts of going in the 
vessel with him, though my prospect was toward the 
steerage ; and he offering to go with me, we went 
on board, first into the cabin, — a commodious 
room, — and then into the steerage, where we sat 
down on a chest, the sailors being busy about us. 
The owner of the ship also came and sat down with 
us. My mind was turned towards Christ, the Heav- 
enly Counsellor, and feeling at this time my own 
will subjected, my heart was contrite before him. 
A motion was made by the owner to go and sit in 
the cabin, as a place more retired ; but I felt easy 
to leave the ship, and, making no agreement as to 
a passage in her, told the owner if I took a passage 
in the ship I believed it would be in the steerage ; 
but did not say much as to my exercise in that case. 

After I went to my lodgings, and the case was a 
little known in town, a Friend laid before me the 
great inconvenience attending a passage in the 

The youmal of John Woolman. 239 

steerage, which for a time appeared very discour* 
aging to me. 

I soon after went to bed, and my mind was under 
a deep exercise before the Lord, whose helping 
hand was manifested to me as I slept that night, 
and his love strengthened my heart In the morn- 
ing I went with two Friends on board the vessel 
again, and after a short time spent therein, I went 
with Samuel Emlen to the house of the owner, to 
whom, in the hearing of Samuel only, I opened 
my exercise in relation to a scruple I felt with 
regard to a passage in the cabin, in substance as 
follows : — 

'' That on the outside of that part of the ship 
where the cabin was I observed sundry sorts of 
carved work and imagery ; that in the cabin I ob- 
served some superfluity of workmanship of several 
sorts; and that according to the ways of men's 
reckoning, the sum of money to be paid for a pas- 
sage in that apartment has some relation to the 
expense of furnishing it to please the minds of such 
as give way to a conformity to this world ; and that 
in this, as in other cases, the moneys received from 
the passengers are calculated to defray the cost of 
these superfluities, as well as the other expenses 
of their passage. I therefore felt a scruple with 
regard to paying my money to be applied to such 

As my mind was now opened, I told the owner 
that I had, at several times, in my travels, seen 
great oppressions on this continent, at which my 

240 The youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 

heart bad been much affected and brougbt into a 
feeling of the state of the sufferers ; and having 
many times been engaged in the fear and love of 
God to labor with those under whom the oppressed 
have been borne down and afflicted, I have often 
perceived that with a view to get riches and to pro- 
vide estates for children, that they may live con- 
formably to the customs and honors of this world, 
many are entangled in the spirit of oppression, and 
the exercise of my soul had been such that I could 
not find peace in joining in anything which I saw 
was against that wisdom which is pure. 

After this I agreed for a passage in the steerage ; 
and hearing that Joseph White had desired to see 
me, I went to his house, and next day home, where 
I tarried two nights. Early the next morning I 
parted with my family under a sense of the hum- 
bling hand of God upon me, and, going to Phila- 
delphia, had an opportunity with several of my 
beloved friends, who .appeared to be concerned for 
me on account of the unpleasant situation of that 
part of the vessel in which I was likely to lodge. 
In these opportunities my mind, through the mer- 
cies of the Lord, was kept low in an inward waiting 
for his help ; and Friends having expressed their 
desire that I might have a more convenient place 
than the steerage, did not urge it, but appeared 
disposed to leave me to the Lord. 

Having stayed two nights at Philadelphia, T went 
the next day to Derby Monthly Meeting, where 
through the strength of Divine love my heart was 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 241 

enlarged towards the youth there present, under 
which I was helped to labor in some tenderness of 
spirit I lodged at William Horn's and afterwards 
went to Chester, where I met with Samuel Emlen, 
and we went on board ist of fifth month, 1772. As 
I sat alone on the deck I felt a satisfactory evidence 
that my proceedings were not in my own will, but 
under the power of the cross of Christ 

Seventh of fifth month. — We have had rough 
weather mostly since I came on board, and the 
passengers, James Reynolds, John Till Adams, 
Sarah Logan and her hired maid, and John Bis- 
pham, all sea-sick at times ; from which sickness, 
through the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father, 
I have been preserved, my afflictions now being of 
another kind. There appeared an openness in the 
minds of the master of the ship and in the cabin 
passengers towards me. We are oflen together on 
the deck, and sometimes in the cabin. My mind, 
through the merciful help of the Lord, hath been 
preserved in a good degree watchful and quiet, for 
which I have great cause to be thankful. 

As my lodging in the steerage, now near a week, . 
hath afforded me sundry opportunities of seeing, ' 
hearing, and feeling with respect to the life and 
spirit of many poor sailors, an exercise of soul hath t 
attended me in regard to placing out children and 1 
youth where they may be likely to be exampled j 
and instructed in the pure fear of the Lord. 

Being much among the seamen I have, from a 
motion of love, taken sundry opportunities with one 


242 The youmal of yohn Woolman* 

of them at a time, and have in free conversation 
labored to turn their minds towards the fear of the 
Lord. This day we had a meeting in the cabin, 
where my heart was contrite under a feeling of 
Divine love. 

I believe a communication with different parts 
of the world by sea is at times consistent with the 
will of our Heavenly Father, and to educate some 
youth in the practice of sailing, I believe may be 
right ; but how lamentable is the present corrup- 
tion of the world ! How impure are the channels 
through which trade is conducted ! How great 
is the danger to which poor lads are exposed when 
placed on shipboard to learn the art of sailing ! 
Five lads training up for the seas were on board 
this ship. Two of them were brought up in our 
Society, and the other, by name James Naylor, is a 
member, to whose father James Naylor, mentioned 
in SeweFs history, appears to have been uncle. I 
often feel a tenderness of heart towards these poor 
lads, and at times look at them as though they were 
my children according to the flesh. 

O that all may take heed and beware of covetous- 
ness I O that all may learn of Christ, who was 
meek and lowly of heart. Then in faithfully follow- 
ing him he will teach us to be content with food 
and raiment without respect to the customs or 
honors of this world. Men thus redeemed will 
feel a tender concern for their fellow-creatures, and 
a desire that those in the lowest stations may be 
assisted and encouraged, and where owners of ships 


The youmal of yohn Woohnan. 243 

attain to the perfect law of liberty and are doers 
of the Word, these will be blessed in their deeds. 

A ship at sea commonly sails all night, and the 
seamen take their watches four hours at a time. 
Rising to work in the night, it is not commonly 
pleasant in any case, but in dark rainy nights it is 
very disagreeable, even though each man were 
furnished with all conveniences. If, after having 
been on deck several hours in the night, they come 
down into the steerage soaking wet, and are so 
closely stowed that proper convenience for change 
of garments is not easily come at, but for want of 
proper room their wet garments are thrown in 
heaps, and sometimes, through much crowding, 
are trodden under foot in going to their lodgings 
and getting out of them, and it is difficult at times 
for each to find his own. Here are trials for the 
poor sailors. 

Now, as I have been with them in my lodge, my 
heart hath often yearned for them, and tender de- 
sires have been raised in me that all owners and 
masters of vessels may dwell in the love of God 
and therein act uprightly, and by seeking less for 
gain and looking carefully to their ways they may 
earnestly labor to remove all cause of provocation 
from the poor seamen, so that they may neither 
fret nor use excess of strong drink ; for, indeed, 
the poor creatures, in the wet and cold, seem to 
apply at times to strong drink to supply the want 
of other convenience. Great reformation is want- 
ing in the world, and the necessity of it amor'- 

244 ^^^ youmal of yohn Woolntan. 

those who do business on great waters hath at this 
time been abundantly opened before me. 

Eighth of fifth month. — This morning the clouds 
gathered, the wind blew strong from the southeast, 
and before noon so increased that sailing appeared 
dangerous. The seamen then bound up some of 
their sails and took down others, and the storm in- 
creasing they put the dead-lights, so called, into 
the cabin windows and lighted a lamp as at night. 
The wind now blew vehemently, and the sea 
wrought to that degree that an awful seriousness 
prevailed in the cabin, in which I spent, I believe, 
about seventeen hours, for the cabin passengers 
had given me frequent invitations, and I thought 
the poor wet toiling seamen had need of all the 
room in the crowded steerage. They now ceased 
from sailing and put the vessel in the posture called 
lying to. 

My mind during this tempest, through the gra- 
cious assistance of the Lord, was preserved in a 
good degree of resignation ; and at times I ex- 
pressed a few words in his love to my shipmates 
in regard to the all-sufficiency of Him who formed 
the great deep, anc^ whose care is so extensive that 
a sparrow falls not without his notice ; and thus in 
a tender frame of mind I spoke to them of the ne- 
cessity of our yielding in true obedience to the in- 
structions of our Heavenly Father, who sometimes 
through adversities intendeth our refinement 

About eleven at night I went out on the deck. 
The sea wrought exceedingly, and the high, foam« 

The ybumal of yohn Woolntan. 245 

tng waves round about had in some sort the ap- 
pearance of fire, but did not give much if any light 
The sailor at the helm said he lately saw a corpo- 
sant at the head of the mast I observed that the 
master of the ship ordered the carpenter to keep 
on the deck ; and, though he said little, I appre- 
hended his care was that the carpenter with his axe 
might be in readiness in case of any extremity. 
Soon after this the vehemency of the wind abated, 
and before morning they again put the ship under 

Tenth of fifth month. — It being the first day of 
the week and fine weather, we had a meeting in 
the cabin, at which most of the seamen were pres- 
ent ; this meeting was to me a strengthening time. 
13 th. — As I continue to lodge in the steerage I feel 
an openness this morning to express something 
further of the state of my mind in respect to poor 
lads bound apprentice to learn the art of sailing. 
As I believe sailing is of use in the world, a labor 
of soul attends me that the pure counsel of truth 
may be humbly waited for in this case by all con- 
cerned in the business of the seas. A pious father 
whose mind is exercised for the everlasting welfare 
of his child may not with a peaceable mind place 
him out to an employment among a people whose 
common course of life is manifestly corrupt and 
profane. Great is the present defect among sea- 
&ring men in regard to virtue and piety ; and. bv 
reason of an abundant traffic and many shf 
used for war, so many people are em*^^' 

246 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

sea that the subject of placing lads to this employ- 
ment appears very weighty. 

When I remember the saying of the Most High 
through his prophet, "This people have I formed 
for myself ; they shall show forth my praise," and 
think of placing children among such to learn the 
practice of sailing, the consistency of it with a 
pious education seems to me like that mentioned 
by the prophet, " There is no answer from God." 

Profane examples are very corrupting and very 
forcible. And as my mind day after day and night 
afler night hath been affected with a sympathizing 
tenderness towards poor children who are put to 
the employment of sailors, I have sometimes had 
weighty conversation with the sailors in the steer- 
age, who were mostly respectful to me and became 
more so the longer I was with them. They mostly 
appeared to take kindly what I said to them ; but 
their minds were so deeply impressed with the al- 
most universal depravity among sailors that the 
poor creatures in their answers to me have revived 
in my remembrance that of the degenerate Jews a 
little before the captivity, as repeated by Jeremiah 
the prophet, " There is no hope." 

Now under this exercise a sense of the desire of 
outward gain prevailing among us felt grievous; 
and a strong call to the professed followers of 
Christ was raised in me that all may take heed lest^ 
through loving this present world, they be found in 
a continued neglect of duty with respect to a &ith« 
ful labor for reformation. 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 247 

To silence every motion proceeding fiom the 
love of money and humbly to wait upon God to 
know his will concerning us have appeared neces- 
sary. He alone is able to strengthen us to dig 
deep, to remove all which lies between us and the 
safe foundation, and so to direct us in our outward 
employments tiiat pure universal love may shine 
forth in our proceedings.' Desires arising from the 
spirit of truth are pure desires ; and when a mind 
divinely opened towards a young generation is made 
sensible of corrupting examples powerfully working 
and extensively spreading among them, how mov- 
ing is the prospect ! In a world of dangers and 
difficulties, like a desolate, thorny wilderness, how 
precious, how comfortable, how safe, are the lead- 
ings of Christ the good Shepherd, who said, '' I 
know my sheep, and am known of mine " I 

Sixteenth of sixth month. — Wind for several 
days past often high, what the sailors call squally, 
with a rough sea and frequent rains. This last 
night has been a very trying one to the poor sea- 
men, the water the most part of the night running 
over the main-deck, and sometimes breaking waves 
came on the quarter-deck. The latter part of the 
night, as I lay in bed, my mind was humbled under 
the power of Divine love ; and resignedness to the 
great Creator of the earth and the seas was renew- 
edly wrought in me, and his fatherly care over his 
children felt precious to my soul. I was now de- 
sirous to embrace every opportunity of being in- 
wardly acquainted with the hardships and difficul- 

248 The youmal of yohn Woolfkan. 

ties of my fellow-creatures, and to labor in his love 
for the spreading of pure righteousness on the 
earth. Opportunities were frequent of hearing con- 
versation among the sailors respecting the voyages 
to Africa and the manner of bringing the deeply 
oppressed slaves into our islands. They are fre- 
quently brought on board the vessels in chains and 
fetters, with hearts loaded with grief under the ap- 
prehension of miserable slavery ; so that my mind 
was frequently engaged to meditate on these things. 

Seventeenth of fifth month and first of the week. 
— We had a meeting in the cabin, to which the 
seamen generally came. My spirit was contrite be- 
fore the Lord, whose love at this time affected my 
heart In the afternoon I felt a tender sympathy 
of soul with my poor wife and family left behind, in 
which state my heart was enlarged in desires that 
they may walk in that humble obedience wherein 
the everlasting Father may be their guide and sup- 
port through all their difficulties in this world ; and 
a sense of that gracious assistance, through which 
my mind hath been strengthened to take up the 
cross and leave them to travel in the love of truth, 
hath begotten thankfulness in my heart to our great 

Twenty-fourth of fifth month. — A clear, pleasant 
morning. As I sat on deck I felt a reviving in my 
nature, which had been weakened through much 
rainy weather and high winds and being shut up 
in a close, unhealthy air. Several nights of late I 
have felt my breathing difficult ; and a little after 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 249 

die rising of the second watch, which is about mid- 
night, I have got up and stood near an hour with 
my face near the hatchway, to get the fresh air at 
the small vacancy under the hatch door, which is 
commonly shot down, partly to keep out rain and 
sometimes to keep the breaking waves from dash- 
ing into the steerage. I may with thankfulness to 
the Father of Mercies acknowledge that in my pres- 
ent weak state my mind hath been supported to 
bear this affliction with patience ; and I have 
looked at the present dispensation as a kindness 
from the great Father of mankind, who, in this my 
floating pilgrimage, is in some degree bringing me 
to feel what many thousands of my fellow-creatures 
often suffer in a greater degree. 

My appetite failing, the trial hath been the 
heavier ; and I have felt tender breathings in my 
soul after God, the fountain of comfort, whose in- 
ward help hath supplied at times the want of out- 
ward convenience ; and strong desires have attend- 
ed me that his family, who are acquainted with the 
movings of his Holy Spirit, may be so redeemed 
from the love of money and from that spirit in 
which men seek honor one of another, that in all 
business, by sea or land, they may constantly keep 
in view the coming of his kingdom on earth as it is 
in Heaven, and, by faithfully following this safe 
guide, may show forth examples tending to lead out 
of that under which the creation groans. This day 
we had a meetingnn the cabin, in which I was fa- 
vored in some degree to experience the fulfilling of 


250 The youmal of John Wooltnan. 

that saying of the prophet, " The Lord hath been a 
strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in 
their distress"; for which my heart is bowed in 
thankfulness before him. 

Twenty-eighth fifth month. — Wet weather of 
late and small winds, inclining to calms. Our sea- 
men cast a lead, I suppose about one hundred fath- 
oms, but found no bottom. Foggy weather this 
morning. Through the kindness of the great Pre- 
server of men my mind remains quiet ; and a de- 
gree of exercise from day to day attends me, that 
the pure peaceable government of Christ may 
spread and prevail among mankind. 

The leading of a young generation in that pure 
way in which the wisdom of this world hath no 
place, where parents and tutors, humbly waiting for 
the heavenly Counsellor, may example them in the 
truth as it is in Jesus, hath for several days been 
the exercise of my mind. O, how safe, how quiet, 
is that state where the soul stands in pure obedi- 
ence to the voice of Christ and a watchful care is 
maintained not to follow the voice of the stranger ! 
Here Christ is felt to be our Shepherd, and under 
his leading people are brought to a stability ; and 
where he doth not lead forward, we are bound in 
the bonds of pure love to stand still and wait upon 

In the love of money and in the wisdom of this 
world, business is proposed, then the urgency of 
affairs push forward, and the mind cannot in this 
state discern the good and perfect will of God 

The journal of yohn Woolman. 251 

concerning us. The love of God is manifested in 
graciously calling us to come out of that which 
stands in confusion ; but if we bow not in the 
name of Jesus, if we give not up those prospects 
of gain which in the wisdom of this world are open 
before us, but say in our hearts, '^ I must needs go 
on ; and in going on I hope to keep as near the 
purity of truth as the business before me will ad- 
mit of," the mind remains entangled and the shin- 
ing of the light of life into the soul is obstructed. 

Surely the Lord calls to mourning and deep hu- 
miliation that in his fear we may be instructed and 
led safely through the great difficulties and perplex- 
ities in this present age. In an entire subjection 
of our wills the Lord graciously opens a way for 
his people, where all their wants are bounded by his 
wisdom ; and here we experience the substance of 
what Moses the prophet figured out in the water 
of separation as a purification from sin. 

Esau is mentioned as a child red all over like a 
hairy garment In Esau is represented the natural 
will of man. In preparing the water of separation 
a red heifer without blemish, on which there had 
been no yoke, was to be slain and her blood sprin- 
kled by the priest seven times towards the taberna- 
cle of the congregation ; then her skin, her flesh, 
and all pertaining to her, was to be burnt without 
the camp, and of her ashes the water was prepared. 
Thus, the crucifying of the old man, or natural will, 
is represented ; and hence comes a separation from 
that carnal mind which is death. " He who touch- 

252 The youmal of JvAn Woolman. 

eth the dead body, of a man and purifieth not him- 
self with the water of separation, defileth the tab- 
ernacle of the Lord ; he is unclean." (Num. xix. 

If any through the love of gain engage in busi- 
ness wherein they dwell as among the tombs and 
touch the bodies of those who are dead should 
through the infinite love 6f God feel the power of 
the cross of Christ to crucify them to the world, 
and therein learn humbly to follow the divine 
Leader, here is the judgment of this world, here the 
prince of this world is cast out The water of sej>- 
aration is felt ; and though we have been among 
the slain, and through the desire of gain have 
touched the dead body of a man, yet in the puri- 
fying love of Christ we are washed in the water 
of separation ; we are brought off from that busi- 
ness, from that gain and from that fellowship which 
is not agreeable to his 'holy will. I have felt a re- 
newed confirmation in the time of this voyage, that 
the Lord, in his infinite love, is calling to his visited 
children so to give up all outward possessions and 
means of getting treasures, that his Holy Spirit may 
have free course in their hearts and direct them in 
all their proceedings. To feel the substance pointed 
at in this figure man must know death as to his 
own will. 

"No man can see God and live." This was 
spoken by the Almighty to Moses the prophet and 
opened by our blessed Redeemer. As death comes 
on our own wills, and a new life is formed in us, 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 253 

the heart is purified and prepared to understand 
clearly, " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they 
shall see God." In purity of heart the mind is 
divinely opened to behold the nature of universal 
righteousness, or the righteousness of the kingdom 
of God. " No man hath seen the Father save he 
that is of God, he hath seen the Father." 

The natural mind is active about the things of 
this life, and in this natural activity business is 
proposed and a will is formed in us to go forward 
in it And so long as this natural will remains 
unsubjectedf so long there remains an obstruction 
to the clearness of Divine light operating in us; 
but when we love God with all our heart and with 
all our strength, in this love we love our neighbor 
as ourselves ; and a tenderness of heart is felt to* 
wards all people for whom Christ died, even those 
who, as to outward circumstances, may be to us as 
the Jews were to the Samaritans. ''Who is my 
neighbor?" See this question answered by our 
Saviour, Luke jc 30. In this love we can say that 
Jesus is the Lord ; and in this reformation in our 
souls, manifested in a full reformation of our lives, 
wherein all things are new, and all things are of 
God (3 Cor. V. 18), the desire of gain is subjected. 

When employment is honestly followed in the 
light of truth, and people become diligent in busi- 
ness, " fervent in spirit, serving the Lord " (RonL 
sdi. 11), the meaning of the name is opened to us : 
^This is the name by which he shall be called, 

254 ^'^ youmal of yohn Wooltnan. 

xxiii. 6.) O, how precious is this name ! it is like 
ointment poured out. The chaste virgins are in 
love with the Redeemer ; and for promoting his 
peaceable kingdom in the world are content to 
endure hardness like good soldiers; and are so 
separated in spirit from the desire of riches, that in 
their employments they become extensively careful 
to give no offence, either to Jew or Heathen, or to 
the church of Christ 

Thirty-first of fifth month and first of the week. 
— We had a meeting in the cabin, with nearly all 
the ship's company, the whole being near thirty. 
In this meeting the Lord in mercy favored us with 
the extending of his love. 

Second of sixth month. — Last evening the sea- 
men found bottom at about seventy fathoms. This 
morning, a fair wind and pleasant I sat on deck ; 
my heart was overcome with the love of Christ, and 
melted into contrition before him. In this state 
the prospect of that work to which I found my 
mind drawn when in my native land being, in some 
degree, opened before me, I felt like a little child ; 
and my cries were put up to my Heavenly Father 
for preservation, that in an humble dependence on 
him my soul might be strengthened in his love 
and kept inwardly waiting for his counsel. This 
afternoon we saw that part of England called the 

Some fowls yet remained of those the passengers 
took for their sea-store. I believe about fourteen 
perished in the storms at sea, by the waves break- 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 255 

ing over the quarter-deck, and a considerable num- 
ber with sickness at different times. I observed 
the cocks crew as we came down the Delaware, 
and while we were near the land, but afterwards I 
think I did not hear one of them crow till we came 
near the £nglish coast, when they again crowed a 
few times. In observing their dull appearance at 
sea, and the pining sickness of some of them, I 
oflen remembered the Fountain of goodness, who 
gave being to all creatures, and whose love extends 
to caring for the sparrows. I believe where the 
love of God b verily perfected, and the true spirit 
of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness 
towards all creatures made subject to us will be 
experienced, and a care felt in us that we do not 
lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation 
which the great Creator intends for them under our 

Fourth of sixth month. — Wet weather, high 
winds, and so dark that we could see but a little 
way. I perceived our seamen were apprehen- 
sive of the danger of missing the channel, which I 
understood was narrow. In a while it grew lighter, 
and they saw the land and knew where we were. 
Thus the Father of Mercies was pleased to try us 
with the sight of dangers, and then graciously, from 
time to time, deliver us from them ; thus sparing 
our lives, that in humility and reverence we might 
walk before him and put our trust in him. About 
noon a pilot came off from Dover, where my be* 
loved friend Samuel Emlen went on shore and 

256 The yourftal of John Woolman. 

thence to London, about seventy-two miles by 
land ; but I felt easy in staying in the ship. 

Seventh of sixth month and first of the week. — 
A clear morning : we lay at anchor for the tide, 
and had a parting meeting with the ship's company, 
in which my heart was enlarged in a fervent con- 
cern for them, that they may come to experience 
salvation through Christ. Had a head-wind up the 
Thames ; lay sometimes at anchor ; saw many ships 
passing, and some at anchor near ; and I had large 
opportunity of feeling the spirit in which the poor 
bewildered sailors too generally live. That lament- 
able degeneracy which so much prevails in the peo- 
ple employed on the seas so affected my heart that 
I cannot easily convey the feeling I had to another. 

The present state of the seafaring life in general 
appears so opposite to that of a pious education, 
so full of corruption and extreme alienation from 
God, so full of the most dangerous examples to 
young people that in looking towards a young 
generation I feel a care for them, that they may 
have an education different from the present one 
of lads at sea, and that all of us who are acquainted 
with the pure gospel spirit may lay this case to 
heart, may remember the lamentable corruptions 
which attend the conveyance of merchandise across 
the seas, and so abide in the love of Christ that, 
being delivered from the entangling expenses of a 
curious, delicate, and luxurious life, we may learn 
contentment with a little, and promote the seafar- 
ing life no further than that spirit which leads into 
all truth attends us in our proceedings. 

The yaumat of yohn Woolman. 257 


Attends the Yearly Meeting in London. — Then proceeds 
towards Yorkshire. — Visits Quarterly and other Meetings 
in the Counties of Hertford, Warwick, Oxford, Notting- 
ham, York, and Westmoreland. — Returns to Yorkshire. 
— InstructiTe Observations and Lietters. — Hears of the 
Decease of William Hunt — Some Account of him. — The 
Author's I^ast Illness and Death at York. 

ON the 8th of sixth month, 1772, we landed at 
London, and I went straightway to the Yearly 
Meeting of ministers and elders, which had been 
gathered, I suppose, about half an hour.* 

* There is a story told of his first appearance in England 
which I have from my friend, William J. Allinson, editor of 
the Friends' Review, and which he assures me is well au* 
thenticated. The vessel reached London on the morning of 
the fifth day of the week, and John Woolman, knowing that 
the meeting was then in session, lost no time in reaching it. 
Coming in late and unannounced, his peculiar dress and 
manner excited attention and apprehension that he was an 
Htnerant enthusiast He presented his certificate from 
Friends in America, but the dissatisfaction still remained, 
and some one remarked that perhaps the stranger Friend 
might feel that his dedication of himself to this apprehended 
service was accepted, without further labor, and that he 
might now feel free to return to his home. John Woolman 
•at silent for a space, seeking the unerring counsel of Divine 
Wisdom. He was profoundly affected by the unfavorable re* 
oeption he met with, and his tears flowed freely. In the 


258 The Journal of John Woolman. 

In this meeting my mind was humbly contrite. 
In the afternoon the meeting for business was 
opened, which by adjournments held near a week. 
In these meetings I often felt a living concern 
for the establishment of Friends in the pure life 
of truth. My heart was enlarged in the meet- 
ings of ministers, that for business, and in several 
meetings for public worship, and I felt my mind 
united in true love to the faithful laborers now 
gathered at this Yearly Meeting. On the isth I 
went to a Quarterly Meeting at Hertford. 

First of seventh month. — I have been at Quarterly 
Meetings at Sherrington, Northampton, Banbury, 
and Shipton, and have had sundry meetings be- 
tween. My mind hath been bowed under a sense 

love of Christ and his fellow-men he had, at a painful sacri- 
fice, taken his life in his hands, and left behind the peace and 
endearments of home. That love still flowed out toward the 
people of England ; must it henceforth be pent up in his own 
heart? He rose at last, and stated that he could not feel 
himself released from his prospect of labor in England. Yet 
he could not travel in the ministry without the unity of 
Friends ; and while that was withheld he could not feel easy 
to be of any cost to them. He could not go back as had 
been suggested ; but he was acquainted with a mechanical 
trade, and while the impediment to his services continued he 
hoped Friends would be kindly willing to employ him in 
such business as he was capable of, that he might not be 
chargeable to any. 

A deep silence prevailed over the assembly, many of whom 
were touched by the wise simplicity of the stranger's words 
and manner. After a season of waiting, John Woolman felt 
that words were given him to utter as a minister of Christ. 

The Journal of yohn Woolman. 259 

of Divine goodness manifested among us ; my heart 
hath been often enlarged in true love, both among 
ministers and elders and in public meetings, and 
through the Lord's goodness I believe it hath 
been a fresh visitation to many, in particular to the 

Seventeenth. — I was this day at Birmingham ; I 
have been at meetings at Coventry, Warwick, in 
Oxfordshire, and sundry other places, and have felt 
the humbling hand of the Lord upon me ; but 
through his tender mercies I find peace in the 
labors I have gone through. 

Twenty-sixth. — I have continued travelling 
northward, visiting meetings. Was this day at 
Nottingham ; the forenoon meeting was especiallyi 

The spirit of his Master bore witness to them in the hearts 
of his hearers. When be closed, the Friend who had advised 
against his further service rose up and humbly confessed his 
error, and avowed his full unity with the stranger. All doubt 
was removed ; there was a general expression of unity and 
sympathy, and John Woolman, owned by his breUiren, 
passed on to his work. 

There is no portrait of John Woolman ; and had photog- 
raphy been known in his day it is not at all probable that 
the swi-artist would have been permitted to delineate his fea- 
tures. That, while eschewing all superfluity and expensive 
luxury, he was scrupulously neat in his dress and person 
may be inferred from his general character and from the 
£ict that one of his serious objections to dyed clothing was 
that it served to conceal uncleanness, and was, therefore, 
detrimental to real purity. It is, however, quite probable 
that his outer man, on the occasion referred to» was sugges- 
tive of a hasty toilet in the crowded steerage. 


26o The Journal of Jokn Woobnan. 

through Divine love, a heart-tendering season. 
Next day I had a meeting in a Friend's family, 
which, through the strengthening arm of the Lord, 
was a time to be thankfully rem^nbered. 

Second of eighth month and first of the week. — 
I was this day at Sheffield, a large inland town. I 
was at sundry meetings last week, and feel inward 
thankfulness for that Divine support which hath 
been graciously extended to me. On the 9th I 
was at Rushworth. I have lately passed through 
some painful labor, but have been comforted under 
a sense of that Divine visitation which I feel ex- 
tended towards many young people. 

Sixteenth of eighth month and the first of the 
week, I was at Settle. It hath of late been a time 
of inward poverty, under which my mind hath been 
preserved in a watchful, tender state, feeling for the 
mind of the Holy Leader, and I find peace in the 
labors I have passed through. 

On inquiry in many places I find the price of 
rye about five shillings ; wheat, eight shillings per 
bushel j oatmeal, twelve shillings for a hundred and 
twenty pounds j mutton from threepence to five- 
pence per pound j bacon from sevenpence to nine- 
pence j cheese from fourpence to sixpence ; but- 
ter from eightpence to tenpence ; house-rent for 
a poor man fi*om twenty-five shillings to forty shil- 
lings per year, to be paid weekly ; wood for fire 
very scarce and dear; coal in some places two 
shillings and sixpence per hundredweight j but 
near the pits not a quarter so much. O, may the 
wealthy consider the poor I 

The youmal of Jv/m Woolman. .261 

The wages of laboring men in several counties 
towards London at tenpence per day in common 
business, the employer finds small beer and the 
laborer finds his own food ; but in harvest and hay 
time wages are about one shilling per day, and the 
laborer hath all his diet In some parts of the 
north of England poor laboring men have their 
food where they work, and appear in common to 1 
do rather better than nearer London. Industrious ; 
women who spin in the factories get some four- / 
pence, some fivepence, and so on to six, seven, / 
eight, nine, or ten pence per day, and find their ' 
own house-room and diet Great numbers of poor 
people live chiefly on bread and water in the south- 
em parts of England, as well as in the northern 
parts ; and there are many poor children not even 
taught to read. May those who have abundance 
lay these things to heart I 

Stage-coaches firequently go upwards of one 
hundred miles in twenty-four hours ; and I have 
heard Friends say in several places that it is com- 
mon for horses to be killed with hard driving, and 
that many others are driven till they grow blind. 
Post-boys pursue their business, each one to his 
stage, all night through the winter. Some boys 
who ride long stages suffer greatly in winter nights, 
and at several places I have heard of their being 
frozen to death. So great is the hurry in the spirit 
of this world, that in aimmg to do business quickly 
and to gain wealth the creation at this day doth 
loudly groan. 

262 The Journal of John Woolman. 

As my journey hath been without a horse, I have 
had several offers of being assisted on my way in 
these stage-coaches, but have not been in them ; 
nor have I had freedom to send letters by these 
posts in the present way of their riding, the stages 
being so fixed, and one boy dependent on another 
as to time, and going at great speed, that in long 
cold winter nights the poor boys suffer much. I 
heard in America gf the way of these posts, and 
cautioned Friends in the General Meeting of minis- 
ters and elders at Philadelphia, and in the Yearly 
Meeting of ministers and elders in London, not to 
send letters to me on any common occasion by 
post. And though on this account I may be likely 
not to hear so often from my family left behind, yet 
for righteousness' sake I am, through Divine favor^ 
made content 

I have felt great distress of mind since I came 
on this island, on account of the members of our 
Society being mixed with the world in various sorts 
of traffic, carried on in impure channels. Great is 
the trade to Africa for slaves ; and for the loading 
of these ships a great number of people are em- 
ployed in their factories, among whom are many of 
our Society. Friends in early times refused on a 
religious principle to make or trade in superfluities, 
of which we have many testimonies on record ; but 
for want of faithfulness, some, whose examples were 
of note in our Society, gave way, from which others 
took more liberty. Members of our Society worked 
in superfluities, and bought and sold them, and 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 263 

thus dimness of sight came over many ; at length 
Friends got into the use of some superfluities in 
dress and in the furniture of their houses, which 
hath spread from less to more, till superfluity of 
some kinds is common among us. 

In this declining state many look at the example 
of others and too much neglect the pure feeling of 
truth. Of late years a deep exercise hath attended 
my mind, that Friends may dig deep, may carefully 
cast forth the loose matter and get down to the 
rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken to 
that Divine voice which gives a clear and certain 
sound ; and I have felt in that which doth not 
deceive, that if Friends who have known the truth 
keep in that tenderness of heart where all views of 
outward gain are given up, and their trust is only 
in the Lord, he will graciously lead some to be pat- 
terns of deep self-denial in things relating to trade 
and handicraft labor ; and others who have plenty 
of the treasures of this world will be examples of a 
plain frugal life, and pay wages to such as they 
may hire more liberally than is now customary in 
some places. 

Twenty-third of eighth month. — I was this day 
at Preston Patrick, and had a comfortable meeting. 
I have several times been entertained at the houses 
of Friends who had sundry things about them that 
had the appearance of outward greatness, and as I 
have kept inward, way hath opened for conversa- 
tion with such in private, in which Divine goodness 
hath favored us together with heart-tendering times. 

264 T}ie Journal of John Woolman. 

Twenty-sixth of eighth month. — Being now at 
George Crosfield's, in the county of Westmore- 
land, I feel a concern to commit to writing the fol- 
lowing uncommon circumstance. 

In a. time of sickness, a little more than two 
years and a half ago, I was brought so near the 
gates of death that I forgot my name. Being then 
desirous to know who I was, I saw a mass of mat- 
ter of a dull gloomy color between the south and 
the east, and was informed that this mass was hu- 
man beings in as great misery as they could be,, and 
Uve, and that I was mixed with them, and that 
henceforth I might not consider myself as a dis- 
tinct or separate being. In this state I remained 
several hours. I then heard a soft melodious 
voice, more pure and harmonious than any I had 
heard with my ears before ; I believed it was the 
voice of an angel who spake to the other angels ; 
the words were, " John Woolman is dead." I soon 
remembered that I was once John Woolman, and 
being assured that I was alive in the body, I greatly 
wondered what that heavenly voice could mean* 
I believed beyond doubting that it was the 
voice of an holy angel, but as yet it was a mys- 
tery to me. 

I was then carried in spirit to the mines where 
poor oppressed people were digging rich treasures 
for those called Christians, and heard them blas- 
pheme the name of Christ, at which I was grieved, 
for his name to me was precious. I was then in- 
formed that these heathens were told that those 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 265 

who oppressed them were the followers of Christ, 
and they said among themselves, " If Christ di- 
rected them to use us in this sort, then Christ is a 
cruel tyrant" 

All this time the song of the angel remained a 
mystery; and in the morning, my dear wife and 
some others coming to my bedside, I asked them 
if they knew who I was, and they telling me I 
was John Woolman, thought I was light-headed, for 
I told them not what the angel said, nor was I 
disposed to talk much to any one, but was very de- 
sirous to get so deep that I might understand this 

My tongue was often so dry that I could not 
speaik till I had moved it about and gathered some 
moisture, and as I lay still for a time I at length 
felt a Divine power prepare my mouth that I could 
speak, and I then said, ''I am crucified with 
Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the 
flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me and gave himself for me." Then the 
mystery was opened and I perceived there was joy 
in heaven over a sinner who had repented, and that 
the language " John Woolman is dead," meant no 
more than the death of my own will. 

My natural understanding now returned as be- 
fore, and I saw that people setting off their tables 
with silver vessels at entertainments was often 
stained with worldly glory, and that in the pres- 
ent state of things I should take heed how I fed 


266 The Journal of yokn Woolman. 

myself out of such vessels. Going to our Mdhthly 
Meeting soon after my recovery, I dined at a 
Friend's house where drink was brought in silver 
vessels, and not in any other. Wanting something 
to drink, I told him my case with weeping, and he 
ordered some drink for me in another vesseL I 
afterwards went through the same exercise in sev^ 
eral Friends' houses in America, as well as in Eng- 
land, and I have cause to acknowledge with hum- 
ble reverence the loving-kindness of my Heav- 
enly Father, who hath preserved me in such a 
tender frame of mind, that none, I believe, have 
ever been offended at what I have said on that 

After this sickness I spake not in public meet- 
ings for worship for nearly one year, but my mind 
was very often in company with the oppressed 
slaves as I sat in meetings ; and though under this 
dispensation I was shut up from speaking, yet the 
spring of the gospel ministry was many times liv- 
ingly opened in me, and the Divine gift operated 
by abundance of weeping, in feeling the oppression 
of this people. It being so long since I passed 
through this dispensation, and the matter remain- 
ing fresh and lively in my mind, I believe it safest 
for me to commit it to writing. 

Thirtieth of eighth month. — This morning I 
wrote a letter in substance as follows : — ^ 

BncLovED Friend, •— My mind is often affected as 
I pass along under a sense of the state of many poor 

The youmal of yohn Woo/man. 267 

people who sit under that sort of ministry which re- 
quires much outward labor to support it ; and the 
loving-kindness of our Heavenly Father in opening 
a pure gospel ministry in this nation hath often 
raised thankfulness in my heart to him. I often re- 
member the conflicts of the faithful under persecu- 
tion, and now look at the free exercise of the pure 
gift uninterrupted by outward laws, as a trust com- 
mitted to us, which requires our deepest gratitude 
and most careful attention. I feel a tender concern 
that the work of reformation so prosperously carried 
on in this land within a few ages past may go for- 
ward and spread among the nations, and may not 
go backward through dust gathering on our gar- 
ments, who have been called to a work so great 
and so precious. 

Last evening during thy absence I had a little 
opportunity with some of thy family, in which I 
rejoiced, and feeling a sweetness on my mind 
towards thee, I now endeavor to open a little 
of the feeling I had there. 

I have heard that you in these parts have at cer- 
tain seasons Meetings of Conference in relation to 
Friends living up to our principles, in which several 
meetings unite in one. With thb I feel unity, hav- 
ing in some measure felt truth lead that way among 
Friends in America, and I have found, my dear 
friend, that in these labors all superfluities in our 
own living are against us. I feel that pure love 
towards thee in which there is freedom. 

I look at that precious gift bestowed on thee 

268 The youmal of yohn Wootman. 

with awfulness before Him who gave it, and feel a 
desire that we may be so separated to the gospel 
of Christ, that those things which proceed from the 
spirit of this world may have no place among us. 

Thy friend, 

John Woolman. 

I rested a few days in body and mind with our 
friend. Jane Crosfield, who was once in America. 
On the sixth day of the week I was at Kendal, in 
Westmoreland, and at Gre3rrig Meeting the 30th 
day of the month, and first of the week. I have 
known poverty of late, and have been graciously 
supported to keep in the patience, and am thankful 
under a sense of the goodness of the Lord towards 
those who are of a contrite spirit 

Sixth of ninth month and first of the week. — I 
was this day at Counterside, a large meeting- 
house, and very fiill. Through the opening of 
pure love, it was a strengthening time to me, and I 
believe to many more. 

Thirteenth of ninth month. — This day I was at 
Leyburn, a small meeting ; but, the towns-people 
coming in, the house was crowded. It was a time 
of heavy labor, and I believe was a profitable meet- 
ing. At this place I heard that my kinsman, 
William Hunt, fi"om North Carolina, who was on a 
religious visit to Friends in England, departed this 
life on the 9th of this month, of the small pox, at 
Newcastle. He appeared in the ministry when a 
youth, and his labors therein were of good savor. 

The journal of yohn Woolman. 269 

He travelled much in that work in America. I 
once heard him say in public testimony, that his 
concern in that visit was to be devoted to the ser- 
vice of Christ so fully that he might not spend one 
minute in pleasing himself, which words, joined 
with his example, was a means of stirring up the 
pure mind in me. 

Having of late often travelled in wet weather 
through narrow streets in towns and villages, where 
dirtiness under foot and the scent arising from that 
filth which more or less infects the air of all thickly 
settled towns were disagreeable ; and, being but 
weakly, I have felt distress both in body and mind 
with that which is impure. In these journeys I 
have been where much cloth hath been dyed, and 
have, at sundry times, walked over ground where 
much of their dye-stuffs has drained away. This 
hath produced a longing in my mind that people 
might come into cleanness of spirit, cleanness of per- 
son, and cleanness about their houses and garments. 

Some of the great carry delicacy to a great 
height themselves, and yet real cleanliness is not 
generally promoted. Dyes being invented partly 
to please the eye and partly to hide dirt, I have felt 
in this weak state, when travelling in dirtiness, and 
affected with unwholesome scents, a strong desire 
that the nature of dyeing cloth to hide dirt may be 
more fully considered. 

Washing our garments to keep them sweet is 
cleanly, but it is the opposite to real cleanliness to 
hide dirt in them. Through giving way to hiding 

270 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

dirt in our garments a spirit which would conceal 

that which is disagreeable is strengthened. Real 

cleanliness becometh a holy people ; but hiding 

that which is not clean by coloring our garments 

seems contrary to the sweetness of sincerity. 

Through some sorts of dyes cloth is rendered 

less useful. And if the value of dye-stuffs, and 

expense of dyeing, and the damage done to cloth, 

were all added together, and that cost applied to 

keeping all sweet and clean, how much more would 

real cleanliness prevail. 

On this visit to England I have felt some instruc- 
tions sealed on my mind, which I am concerned to 
leave in writing for the use of such as are called to 
the station of a minister of Christ. 

Christ being the Prince of Peace, and we being 
no more than ministers, it is necessary for us not 
only to feel a concern in our first going forth, but 
to experience the renewing thereof in the appoint- 
ment of meetings. I felt a concern in America to 
prepare for this voyage, and being through the 
mercy of God brought safe hither, my heart was 
like a vessel that wanted vent For several weeks 
after my arrival, when my mouth was opened in 
meetings, it was like the raising of a gate in a water- 
course when a weight of water lay upon it In 
these labors there was a fresh visitation to many, 
especially to the youth ; but sometimes I felt poor 
and empty, and yet there appeared a necessity to 
appoint meetings. In this I was exercised to abide 
in the pure life of truth, and in all my labors to 

The youmal of yohn IVaoIman. 271 

watch diligently against the motions of sdf in my 
own mind. 

I have fireqnendy found a necessity to stand op 
when the spring of the ministry was low, and to 
speak from the necessity in that which subjecteth 
the will of the creature ; and herein I was united 
with the suffering seed, and found inward sweetness 
in these mortifying labors. As I have been pre- 
served in a watchful attention to the divine Leader, 
under these dispensations enlargement at times 
hath followed, and the power of truth hath risen 
higher in some meetings than I ever knew it before 
through me. Thus I have been more and more 
instructed as to the necessity of depending, not 
upon a concern which I felt in America to come 
on a visit to England, but upon the daily instru^ 
tions of Christ, the Prince of Peace. 

Of late I have sometimes felt a stop in the ap- 
pointment of meetings, not wholly, but in part : and 
I do not feel liberty to appoint them so quickly, 
one after another, as I have done heretofore. The 
work of the ministry being a work of Divine love, I 
feel that the openings thereof are to be waited for 
in all our appointments. O, how deep is Divine 
wisdom I Christ puts forth his ministers and goeth 
before them ; and O, how great is the danger of 
departing from the pure feeling of that which lead- 
eth safely I Christ knoweth the state of the people, 
and in the pure feeling of the gospel ministry their 
states are opened to his servants. Christ knoweth 
when the fruit-bearing branches themselves have 

2/2 The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

need of purging. O that these lessons may be 
remembered by me ! and that, all who appoint 
meetings may proceed in the pure feeling of duty ! 

I have sometimes felt a necessity to stand up, 
but that spirit which is of the world hath so much 
prevailed in many, and the pure life of truth hath 
been so pressed down, that I have gone forward, 
not as one travelling in a road cast up and well 
prepared, but as a man walking through a miry 
place in which are stones nere and there safe to 
step on, but so situated that, one step being taken, 
time is necessary to see where to step next Now 
I find that in a state of pure obedience the mind 
learns contentment in appearing weak and foolish 
to that wisdom which is of the world ; and in these 
lowly labors, they who stand in a low place and are 
rightly exercised under the cross will find nourish- 
ment. The gift is pure ; and while the eye is sin- 
gle in attending thereto the understanding is pre- 
served clear ; self is kept out We rejoice in filling 
up that which remains of the afflictions of Christ for 
his body's sake, which is the church. 

The natural man loveth eloquence, and many 
love to hear eloquent orations, and if there be not 
a careful attention to the gift, men who have once 
labored in the pure gospel ministry, growing weary 
of suffering, and ashamed of appearing weak, may 
kindle a fire, compass themselves about with sparks, 
and walk in the light, not of Christ, who is under 
suffering, but of that fire which they in departing 
from the gift have kindled, in order that those hear- 

The youmal of yohn Woolman. 273 

eis who have left the meek, suffering state for 
worldly wisdom may be warmed with this fire and 
speak highly of their labors. That which is of God 
gathers to God, and that which is of the world is 
owned by the world. 

In this journey a labor hath attended my mind, 
that the ministers among us may be preserved in 
the meek, feeling life of truth, where we may have 
no desire but to follow Christ and to be with him, 
that when he is under suffering, we may suffer with 
him, and never desire to rise up in dominion, but as 
he, by the virtue of his own spirit, may raise us. 

A few days after writing these considerations, our 
dear friend in the course of his religious visits came 
to the city of York,* and attended most of the sit- 

* During the four months of his labors in England he vis- 
ited the Quarterly and subordinate meetings of Friends in 
•even counties, and found time to write essays upon 
*« Loving our Neighbors/' " A Sailor's life," and " Silent 
Worship." .His mind seems to have been greatly exer- 
cised by a sense of the intimate connection of luxury and 
oppression ; the burden of the laboring poor rested heavily ' 
upon him. In his lonely wanderings on foot through the 
rural districts (for he did not feel free to use the post on 
account of the hard treatment of the horses), or in his tem- 
porary sojourn in crowded manufacturing towns, the eager 
competitions and earnest pursuit of gain of one class, and the 
poverty and physical and moral degradation of another, so 
oppreued him that his health suffered and his strength fiuled. 
It is observable that, in his frequent mention throughout his 
Journal of inward trials and afflictions, he nowhere betrays 

la* K 

274 The youmal of John Woolman. 

tings of the Quarterly Meeting there ; but before it 
was over he was taken ill of the small-pox. Our 
friend Thomas Priestman, and others who attended 
him, preserved the following minutes of his expres* 
sions in the time of his sickness* 

First day, the 27th of the ninth month, 1772, — 
His disorder appeared to be the small-pox. Being 
asked to have a doctor's advice, he signified he 
had not freedom or liberty in his mind so to do, 
standing wholly resigned to His will who gave him 
life, and whose power he had witnessed to raise and 
heal him in sickness before, when he seemed nigh 
unto death ; and if he was to wind up now, he was 
perfectly resigned, having no will either to live or 
[ die, and did not choose any should be sent for 
to him ; but a young man, an apothecary, coming 
of his own accord the next day and desiring to do 

any personal solicitude, any merely selfish anxiety* for his 
own soul. His singular conscientious scruples, his close self- 
questionings, are prompted by a tender concern for universal 
well-being ; an earnest desire that no act or omission of his 
own should add to the evil and misery under which the crea- 
tion groans. He offered no prayers for special personal fa- 
vors. He was, to use his own words, mixed with his fellow- 
creatures in their misery, and could not consider himself a 
distinct and separate being. He left all that concerns self 
to the will of his Father in Heaven, trusting to find a place 
among the " many mansions," but never asking to see the 
title-deeds of his inheritance. His last public labor was a 
testimony in the York Meeting in behalf of the poor and en- 
slaved. His last prayer on his death-bed was a commenda- 
tion of his " fellow-creatures separated from the Divine har- 
mony " to the Omnipotent Power whom he had learned to 
call his Father. 

The Journal of John Woohnatu 275 

something for him, he said he found a freedom to 
confer with him and the other Friends about him, 
and if anything should be proposed as to medicine 
^that did not come through defiled channels or op« 
pressive hands, he should be willing to consider and 
take it, so far as he found freedom. 

Second day. — He said he felt the disorder to 
affect his head so that he could think little and but 
as a child, and desired, if his understanding should 
be more affected, to have nothing given him that 
those about him knew he had a testimony against 

Third day. — He uttered the following prayer : 
^ O Lord, my God ! the amazing horrors of dark- 
ness were gathered around me and covered me all 
over, and I saw no way to go forth. I felt the depth 
and extent of the misery of my fellow-creatures sep- 
arated from the Divine harmony, and it was heavier 
than I could bear, and I was crushed down under 
it I lifted up my hand, I stretched out my arm, 
but there was none to help me; I looked round 
about and was amazed. In the depths of mis- 
ery, O Lord ! I remembered that thou art omnipo- 
tent ; that I had called thee Father ; and I felt that 
I loved thee, and I was made quiet in my will, and 
I waited for deliverance from thee. Thou hadst 
pity upon me when no man could help me. I saw 
that meekness under suffering was showed to us in 
the most affecting example of thy Son, and thou 
taught me to follow him, and I said, ' Thy will, O 
Father, be done I ' " 

Fourth day morning. — Being asked how he felt 

2/6 The youmal of John Wooltnan. 

himself, he meekly answered, " I don't know that I 
have slept this night ; I feel the disorder making 
its progress, but my mind is mercifully preserved in 
stillness and peace." Some time after, he said he 
was sensible that the pains of death must be hard 
to bear, but if he escaped them now he must some 
time pass through them, and he did not know that 
he could be better prepared, but had no will in 
it He said he had settled his outward affairs to 
his mind, had taken leave of his wife and family as 
never to return, leaving them to the Divine protec- 
tion, adding, " Though I feel them near to me at this 
time, yet I have freely given them up, having a hope 
that they will be provided for." And a little after 
said, " This trial is made easier than I could have 
thought, my will being wholly taken away ; if I was 
anxious for the event it would have been harder ; 
but I am not, and my mind enjoys a perfect 

In the night, a young woman having given him 
something to drink, he said, " My child, thou seem- 
est very kind to me, a poor creature ; the Lord will 
reward thee for it." Awhile after he cried out 
with great earnestness of spirit, " O my Father 1 
my Father 1 " and soon after he said, " O my Fa- 
ther 1 my Father 1 how comfortable art thou to my 
soul in this trying season 1 " Being asked if he 
could take a little nourishment, after some pause 
he replied, " My child, I cannot tell what to say to 
it ; I seem nearly arrived where my soul shall have 
rest from all its troubles." After giving in some- 

The youmal of John Woolman. 277 

thing to be inserted in his journal, he said, '' I be- 
lieve the Lord will now excuse me from exer- 
cises of this kind ; and I see no work but one, 
which is to be the last wrought by me in this world ; 
the messenger will come that will release me from 
all these troubles, but it must be in the Lord's 
time, which I am waiting for." He said he had la- 
bored to do whatever was required according to the 
ability received, in the remembrance of which he 
had peace ; and though the disorder was strong at 
times, and would like a whirlwind come over his 
mind, yet it had hitherto been kept steady and cen- 
tred in everlasting love ; adding, '' And if that be 
mercifully continued, I ask and desire no more." 
Another time he said he had long had a view of 
visiting this nation and, some time before he came, 
had a dream, in which he saw himself in the north- 
ern parts of it, and that the spring of the gospel 
was opened in him much as it was in the beginning 
of Friends such as George Fox and William Dews- 
bury, and he saw the different states of the people 
as clear as he had ever seen flowers in a garden ; 
but in his going along he was suddenly stopped, 
though he could not see for what end ; but, look- 
ing towards home, fell into a flood of tears, which 
waked him. 

At another time he said, " My draught seemed 
strongest towards the north, and I mentioned in 
my own Monthly Meeting, that attending the Quar- 
terly Meeting at York, and being there, looked like 
home to me«" 

2/8 The yourttal of yohn Woolman, 

Fifth day night — Having repeatedly consented 
to take medicine, but without effect, the friend then 
waiting on him said through distress, '^ What shall I 
do now?" He answered with great composure, 
"Rejoice evermore, and in ever3rthing give thanks" ; 
but added a little after, " This is sometimes hard to 
come at" 

On sixth day morning he broke forth early in 
supplication on this wise, " O Lord, it was thy pow- 
er that enabled me to forsake sin in my youth, and 
I have felt thy bruises for disobedience ; but as I 
bowed under them thou healedst me, continuing a 
father and a friend ; I feel thy power now, and I 
beg that in the approaching trying moment thoa 
wilt keep my heart steadfast unto thee." On his 
giving directions to a friend concerning some little 
things, she said, " I will take care, but hope thou 
wilt live to order them thyself." He replied, " My 
hope is in Christ ; and though I may seem a little 
better, a change in the disorder may soon happen, 
and my little strength be dissolved, and if it so hap* 
pen I shall be gathered to my everlasting rest" 
On her saying she did not doubt that, but could 
not help mourning to see so many faithful servants 
removed at so low a time, he said, " All good com- 
eth from the Lord, whose power is the same, and 
he can work as he sees best" The same day he 
had given directions about wrapping his corpse ; 
perceiving a friend to weep, he said, "I would 
rather thou wouldst guard against weeping for me, 
my sister ; I sorrow not, though I have had some 

The yaunud cf JoHm Woolmam^ 

painful ooDflkts, but now ther seem over, and mat- 
ters well settled ; and I look at the iaat of my dear 
Redeemer, kx sweet is his voicey and his ooonte- 
nance is cxmely:'' 

First-day, 4tfa of tenth mcHith. — Being very 
weak and in general difficult to be understood, he 
uttered a few words in commemoration of the 
Lord's goodness, and added, " How tenderly have 
I been waited on in this time of affliction, in which 
I may say in Job's words, Tedious days and * wea- 
risome nights are appointed to me ' ; and how many 
are spending their time and money in vanity and 
superfluities, while thousands and tens of thousands 
want the necessaries of life, who might be relieved 
by them, and their distresses at such a time as 
this in some degree softened by the administering 
of suitable things." 

Second day morning. — The apothecary, who ap- 
peared very anxious to assist him, being present, he 
queried about the probability of such a load of mat- 
ter being thrown ofi* his weak body ; and the apoth- 
ecary making some remarks implying he thought it 
might, he spoke with an audible voice on this wise : 
^ My dependence is on the Lord Jesus, who I trust 
itill forgive my sins, which is all I hope for ; and if 
it be his will to raise up this body again, I am con- 
tent ; and if to die, I am resigned ; but if thou 
canst not be easy without trying to assist nature, I 
submit ** After which his throat was so much af- 
fected that it was very difficult for him to speak so 
as to be understood, and he frequently wrote when 

28o The youmal of yohn Woolman. 

he wanted anything. About the second hour on 
fourth-day morning he asked for pen and ink, and 
at several times, with much difficulty, wrote thus : 
"I believe my being here is in the wisdom of 
Christ ; I know not as to life or death." 

About a quarter before six the same morning he 
seemed to fall into an easy sleep, which continued 
about half an hour, when, seeming to awake, he 
breathed a few times with more difficulty and ex- 
pired without sigh, groan, or struggle. 


J%» TESTIMONY 0/ Friend* in YorkMrt aUknr QwMrUHy Muh 
ingt held at York tiu z^h and 2$lk of the third months 1773, concern' 
ing John Woolman^ 0/ Mount HoUy^ in the Province 0/ New jfersgy. 
North America^ who departed this life at ike house of our Friend 
Thomas Priestman, in the suhtrAs if this ci^t the jih qf tenth month, 
177a; and was interred in the burial-ground of Friends the 9th tf the 
same, aged about fifty-two years* 

THIS our valuable friend haviug been under a re- 
ligious engagement for some time to visit Friends 
in this nation, and more especially us in the northern 
parts, undertook the same in full concurrence and near 
sympathy with his friends and brethren at home, as 
appeared by certificates from the Monthly and Quar- 
terly Meetings to which he belonged, and from the 
Spring Meeting of ministers and elders held at Phila- 
delphia for Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

He arrived in the city of London the beginning of 
the last Yearly Meeting, and, after attending that meet- 
ing, travelled northward, visiting the Quarterly Meet- 
ings of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamp- 
tonshire, Oxfordshire, and Worcestershire, and divers 
particular meetings in his way. 

He visited many meetings on the west side of this 
country, also some in Lancashire and Westmoreland, 
from whence he came to our Quarterly Meeting in the 
last ninth month, and though much out of health, yet was 
enabled to attend all the sittings of that meeting except 
the last 

282 Appendix. 

His disorder, which proved the small-pox, increased 
speedily upon him, and was very afflicting, under which 
he was supported in much meekness, patience, and 
Christian fortitude. To those who attended him in his 
illness, his mind appeared to be centred in Divine love, 
under the precious influence whereof we believe he 
finished his course, and entered into the mansions of 
everlasting rest 

In the early part of his illness he requested a Friend 
to write, and he broke forth thus : — 

'< O Lord my God ! the amazing horrors of darkness 
were gathered around me and covered me all over, and 
I saw no way to go forth ; I felt the misery of my 
fellow-creatures separated from the Divine harmony, 
and it was heavier than I could bear, and I was 
crushed down under it ; I lifted up my hand and 
stretched out my arm, but there was none to help me ; 
I looked round about and was amazed. In the depth 
of misery, O Lord ! I remembered that thou art om- 
nipotent, that I had called thee Father, and I felt that I 
loved thee, and I was made quiet in thy will, and I 
waited for deliverance from thee ; thou hadst pity upon 
me when no man could help me ; I saw that meekness 
under suffering was showed to us in the most affecting 
example of thy Son, and thou taught me to follow him, 
and I said. Thy will, O Father, be done." 

Many more of his weighty expressions might have 
been inserted here, but it was deemed unnecessary, 
they being already published in print 

He was a man endued with a large natural capacity, 
and being obedient to the manifestations of Divine 
Grace, having in patience and humility endured many 
deep baptisms, he became thereby sanctified and 
fitted for the Lord's work, and was truly serviceable in 
his church. Dwelling in awful fear and watchfulness. 

Appendix. 283 

6e was careful in his public appearances to feel the 
patting forth of the Divine Hand, so that the spring of 
the gospel ministry often flowed through him with 
great sweetness and purity, as a refreshing stream to 
the weary travellers towards the city of God. Skilful 
in dividing the word, be was furnished by Him in 
whom afe hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowU 
edge, to communicate freely to the several states of the 
people where his lot was cast His conduct at other 
times was seasoned with like watchful circumspection 
and attention to the guidance of Divine wisdom, which 
rendered his whole conversation uniformly edifying. 

He was fully persuaded that as the life of Christ 
comes to reign in the earth, all abuse and unnecessary 
oppression, both of the human and brute creation, will 
come to an end ; but under the sense of a deep revolt 
and an overflowing stream of unrighteousness, his life 
has been often a life of mourning. 

He was deeply concerned on account of that inhu- 
man and iniquitous practice of making slaves of the 
people of Africa, or holding them in that state, and on 
that account we understand he hath not only written 
some books, but travelled much on the continent of 
America, in order to make the negro-masters (espe- 
cially those in profession with us) sensible of the evil of 
such a practice, and though in this journey to England 
he was far removed from the outward sight of their 
safTerings, yet his deep exercise of mind and frequent 
concern to open the miserable state of this deeply in- 
jured people remained, as appears by a short trescttse 
he wrote in this journey. His testimony in the last 
meeting he attended was on this subject, wherein he 
remarked that as we as a Society, when under outward 
ftoflerings, had often found it our concern to lay them 
before those in authority, and thereby, in the Lord's 

284 Appendix* 

time, had obtained relief, so he recommended this op- 
pressed part of the creation to our notice, that we may, 
as way may open, represent their sufferings in an indi- 
vidual, if not in a Society capacity, to those in authority. 

Deeply sensible that the desire to gratify people's 
inclinations in luxury and superfluities is the princi- 
pal ground of oppression, and the occasion of many 
unnecessary wants, he believed it to be his duty to be 
a pattern of great self-denial with respect to the things 
of this life, and earnestly to labor with Friends in the 
meekness of wisdom, to impress on their minds the 
great importance of our testimony in these things, 
recommending to the guidance of the blessed truth in 
this and all other concerns, and cautioning such as are 
experienced therein against contenting themselves with 
acting to the standard of others, but to be careful to 
make the standard of truth manifested to them the 
measure of their obedience. For, said he, ''that 
purity of life which proceeds from faithfulness in fol- 
lowing the spirit of truth, that state where our minds 
are devoted to serve God, and all our wants are 
bounded by his wisdom ; this habitation has often 
been opened before me as a place of retirement for 
the children of the light, where they may stand sepa- 
rated from that which disordereth and confuseth the 
affairs of society, and where we have a testimony of 
our innocence in the hearts of those who behold us." 

We conclude with fervent desires that we as a people 
may thus by our example promote the Lord's work in 
the earth, and, our hearts being prepared, may unite in 
prayer to the great Lord of the harvest, that as in his 
infinite wisdom he hath greatly stripped the church by 
removing of late divers faithful ministers and elders, 
he may be pleased to send forth many more faithful la* 
borers into his harvest 

Appendix. 285 

A TESTIMONY of Hu MotakfyMttHng o/Friendf, keUm BurUn^ 
toMt ifu First Day of iht Eighth Months im the Year of our Lord 
1774, comcemiug our etteemed friend^ John I Vool mant deceaud* 

HE was born in Northampton, in the county of Bur- 
lington and province of West New Jersey, in 
the eighth month, 1720, of reh'gious parents, who in- 
structed him very early in the principles of the Chris- 
tian religion as professed by the people called Quakers, 
which he esteemed a blessing to him even in his 
younger years, tending to preserve him from tlie infec- 
tion of wicked children. But through the workings of 
the enemy and the levity incident to youth, he fre- 
quently deviated from those parental precepts, by 
which he laid a renewed foundation for repentance that 
was finally succeeded by a " godly sorrow not to be re- 
pented of" ; and so he became acquainted with that 
sanctifying power which qualifies for true gospel minis- 
try, into which he was called about the twenty-second 
year of his age ; and by a faithful use of the talents 
committed to him he experienced an increase, until he 
arrived at the state of a father, capable of dividing the 
word aright to the different states he ministered unto, 
dispensing milk to babes and meat to those of riper 
years. Thus he found the efficacy of that power to 
arise, which, in his own expressions, ** prepares the 
creature to stand like a trumpet through which the 
Lord speaks to his people." He was a loving husband, 
a tender father, and was very humane to every part of 
the creation under his care. 

His concern for the poor and those in affliction was 
evident by his visits to them, whom he frequently re- 

286 Appendix^ 

lieved by his assistance and charity. He was for many 
years deeply exercised on account of the poor en- 
slaved Africans, whose cause, as he mentioned, lay al- 
most continually upon him ; and he labored to obtain 
liberty for those captives both in public and in private, 
and was favored to see his endeavors crowned with 
considerable success. He was particularly desirous 
that Friends should not be instrumental to lay burdens 
on this oppressed people, but should remember the 
days of suffering from which they had be^n providen- 
tially delivered, that, if times of trouble should return, 
no injustice dealt to those in slavery might rise ia 
judgment against us, but being clear, we might on 
such occasions address the Almighty with a degree of 
confidence for his interposition and relief, being par- 
ticularly careful as to himself not to countenance sla- 
very even by the use of those conveniences of life 
which were furnished by their labor. 

He was desirous to have his own mind and the 
minds of others redeemed from the pleasures an4 
immoderate profits of this world and to fix them on 
those joys which fade not away ; his principal care be- 
ing after a life of purity, endeavoring to avoid not only 
the grosser pollutions, but those also which, appearing 
in a more refined dress, are not sufficiently guarded 
against by some well-disposed people. In the latter 
part of his life he was remarkable for the plainness and 
simplicity of his dress, and as much as possible avoided 
the use of plate, costly furniture, and feasting, thereby 
endeavoring to become an example of temperance and 
self-denial which he believed himself called unto ; and 
he was favored with peace therein, although it carried 
the appearance of great austerity in the view of some* 
He was very moderate in his charges in the way of 
business, and in his desires after gain ; and though a 

Appendix, 287 

man of industry, avoided and strove much to lead 
others out of extreme labor and anxiety after perishable 
things, being desirous that the strength of our bodies 
might not be spent in procuring things unprofitable, 
and that we might use moderation and kindness to the 
brute animals under our care, to prize the use of them 
as a great favor, and by no means ta abuse them ; that 
the gifts of Providence should be thankfully received 
and applied to the uses they were designed for. 

He several times opened a school at Mount Holly 
for the instruction of poor Friends' children and others, 
being concerned for their help and improvement there- 
in. His love and care for the rising youth among us 
was truly great, recommending U> parents and those 
who have the charge of them to choose conscientious 
and pious tutors, saying, ^ It is a lovely sight to be* 
hold innocent children " ; and that ^ to labor for their 
help against that which would mar the beauty of their 
minds is a debt we owe them." 

His ministry was sound, very deep and penetrating, 
sometimes pointing out the dangerous situation which 
indulgence and custom lead into, frequently exhorting 
others, especially the youth, not to be discouraged at 
the difficulties which occur, but to press after purity. 
He often expressed an earnest engagement that pure 
wisdom should be attended to, which would lead into 
lowliness of mind and resignation to the Divine will, in 
which state small possessions here would be sufficient. 

In transacting the affiiirs of the discipline his judg- 
ment was sound and dear, and he was very useful in 
treating with those who had done amiss ; he visited 
-such in a private way in that plainness which truth dic- 
tates, showing great tenderness and Christian forbear- 
ance. He was a constant attender of our Yearly Meet- 
ingi in which he was a good example and particularly 

288 Appendix, 

useful, assisting in the business thereof with great 
weight and attention. He several times visited most 
of the meetings of Friends in this and in the neighbor- 
ing provinces with the concurrence of the Monthly 
Meeting to which he belonged, and we have reason to 
believe he had good service therein, generally or al- 
ways expressing at his return how it had fared with 
him and the evidence of peace in his mind for thus 
performing his duty. He was often concerned with 
other Friends in the important service of visiting fami- 
lies, which he was enabled to go through to satisfac- 

In the minutes of the meeting of ministers and elders 
for this quarter, at the foot of a list of the members of 
that meeting, made about five years before his death, 
we find in his handwriting the following observation 
and reflections : *' As looking over the minutes made 
by persons who have put off this body hath sometimes 
revived in me a thought how ages pass away, so this 
list may probably revive a like thought in some when I 
and the rest of the persons above named are centred 
in another state of being. The Lord who was the 
guide of my youth hath in tender mercies helped me 
hitherto ; he hath healed my wounds, he hath helped 
me out of grievous entanglements ; he remains to be 
the strength of my life ; to whom I desire to devote 
myself in time and in eternity. 

"John Woolman." 

In the twelfth month, 1771, he acquainted this meet- 
ing that he found his mind drawn towards a religious 
visit to Friends in some parts of England, particularly 
in Yorkshire. In the first month, 1772, he obtained 
our certificate, which was approved and indorsed by 
our Quarterly Meeting and by the Half- Year's Meeting 

Appendix. 289 

of ministers and elders at Philadelphia. He embarked 
on his voyage in the fifth month, and arrived in London 
in the sixth month following, at the time of their 
Annual Meeting in that city. During his short visit 
to Friends in that kingdom, we are informed that his 
services were acceptable and edifying. In his last ill- 
ness he uttered many lively and comfortable expres- 
sions, being *' resigned, having no will either to live or 
die," as appears by the testimony of Friends at York in 
Great Britain, in the suburbs whereof, at the house of 
our friend Thomas Priestman, he died of the small- 
pox, on the 7th of the tenth month, 1772, and was 
buried in Friends* burial-ground in that city, on the 9th 
of the same, after a solid meeting held on the occasion 
at their great meeting-house. He was aged near fifty- 
two, having been a minister upwards of thirty years, 
during which time he belonged to Mount Holly par- 
ticular meeting, which he diligently attended when at 
home and in health of body, and his labors of love and 
pious care for the prosperity of Friends in the blessed 
truth we hope may not be forgotten, but that his good 
works may be remembered to edification. 

Signed in and by order of the said meeting, by 

Samuel Allison, Clerk. 

Read and approved at our Quarterly Meeting, held 
at Burlington the 29th of the eighth month, 1774. 

Signed by order of the said meeting, 

Daniel Smith, Clerk. 


ago Appendix^ 


[Fizst printed in 1793*] 

Section I, 

^ "1 1 TEALTH desired for its own sake obstructs the 
W increase of virtue, and large possessions in 
the hands of selfish men have a bad tendency, for 
by their means too small a number of people are em* 
ployed in useful things, and some of them are necessi- 
tated to labor too hard, while others would want busi- 
ness to earn their bread, were not employments invented 
which, having no real usefulness, serve only to please 
the vain mind. 

Rents on lands are often so high that persons of 
but small substance are straitened in taking (arms, and 
while tenants are healthy and prosperous in business, 
they often find occasion to labor harder than was in- 
tended by our gracious Creator. Oxen and horses are 
often seen at work when, through beat and too much 
labor, their eyes and the motions of their bodies mani- 
fest that they are oppressed. Their loads in wagons are 
frequently so heavy that when weary with hauling them 
i^, their drivers find occasion in going up hills, or 
through mire, to get them forward by whipping. Many 
poor people are so thronged in theUr business that it 
is difficult for them to provide shelter for their catde 
against the storms. These things are common when 
in health, but through sickness and inability to labor, 

Appemdix. 291 

tbrongfa loss of catde, and nuscairiage In business, 
many are so straitened that mnch of their increase goes 
to pay rent, and they have not wherewith to buy what 
they require. 

Hence one poor womaui, in pfoviding for her femily 
and attending the sick, does as moch business as would 
for the time be suitable employment for two or three ; 
and honest persons are often straitened to give their 
children suitable learning. The money which the 
wealthy receive from the poor, who do more than a 
proper share of business in raising it, is frequently 
paid to other poor people for doing business which is 
foreign to the true use of things. Men who have large 
estates and live in the spirit of charity ; who carefolly 
inspect the circumstances of those ^ho occupy their 
estates, and, regardless of the customs of the times, 
regulate their demands agreeably to um*versal love, 
being righteous on principle, do good to the poor 
without placing it to an act of bounty. Their example 
in avoiding superfluities tends to excite moderation in 
others; their uprightness in not exacting what the 
laws and customs would support them in tends to 
open the channel to moderate labor in useful affairs, 
and to discourage those branches of business which 
have not their foundation in true wisdom* 

To be busied in that which is but vanity and serves 
only to please the insatiable mind, tends to an alliance 
with those who promote that vanity, and is a snare in 
which many poor tradesmen are entangled. To be 
employed in things connected with virtue is most 
agreeable with the character and inolinations of an 
honest man. While industrious, frugal people are 
borne down with poverty, and oppressed with too 
much labor in useful things, the way to apply money 
without promoting pride and vanity remains open to 

292 Appendix. 

sucli as truly sympathize ' with them in their various 

Section II. 

The Creator of the earth is the owner of it. He gave 
us being thereon, and our nature requires nourishment 
from the produce of it. He is kind and merciful to his 
creatures ; and while they live answerably to the de- 
sign of their creation, they are so far entitled to con- 
venient subsistence that we may not justly deprive 
them of it. By the agreements and contracts of our 
predecessors, and by our own doings, some enjoy a 
much greater share of this world than others ; and 
while those possessions are faithfully improved for the 
good of the whole, it agrees with equity ; but he who, 
with a view to self-exaltation, causeth some to labor 
immoderately, and with the profits arising therefrom 
employs others in the luxuries of life, acts contrary to 
the gracious designs of Him who is the owner of the 
earth ; nor can any possessions, either acquired or de- 
rived from ancestors, justify such conduct. Goodness 
remains to be goodness, and the direction of pure wis- 
dom is obligatory on all reasonable creatures. 

Though the poor occupy our estates by a bargain, to 
which they in their poor circumstances agree, and we 
may ask even less than a punctual fulfilling of their 
agreement, yet if our views are to lay up riches, or to 
live in conformity to customs which have not their 
foundation in the truth, and our demands are such as 
require from them greater toil or application to busi- 
ness than is consistent with pure love, we invade their 
rights as inhabitants of a world of which a good and 
gracious God is the proprietor, and under whom we 
are tenants. 

Were all superfluities and the desire of outward 

Appendix* 293 

greatness laid aside, and the rigfat use of tbings nni- 
versally attended to, such a number of people might be 
employed in things useful as that moderate labor with 
the blessing of Heaven would answer all good purposes, 
and a sufficient number would have time to attend to 
the proper affiurs of civil society. 

Section III. 

While our spirits are lively, we go cheerfully through 
business ; either too much or too little action is tire- 
some, but a right portion is healthful to the body and 
agreeable to an honest mind. 

Men who have great estates stand in a place of trust ; 
and to have it in their power to live without difficulty 
in that manner which occasions much labor, and at the 
same time to confine themselves to that use of things 
prescribed by our Redeemer, and confirmed by his 
example and the examples of many who lived in the 
early age of the Christian church, that they may more 
extensively relieve objects of charity, requires close 
attention to Divine love. 

Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all his 
creatures. His tender mercies are over all his works, 
and so far as true love influences our minds, so far we 
become interested in his workmanship and feel a desire 
to make use of every opportunity to lessen the dis- 
tresses of the afflicted and to increase the happiness of 
the creation. Here we have a prospect of one common 
interest from which our own is inseparable, so that to 
turn all we possess into the channel of universal love 
becomes the business of our lives. 

Men of large estates, whose hearts are thus enlarged, 
are like fathers to the poor ; and in looking over their 
brethren in distressed circumstances^ and considering 

^94 Appendix^ 

their own more easy condition, they fiiid a field for 
humble meditation, and feel the strength of the obliga- 
tions they are under to be kind and tender-hearted to« 
wards them. Poor men, eased of their burdens and re- 
leased from too close an application to business, are ena* 
bled to hire assistance, to provide well for their cattle^ 
and to find time to perform those duties among their 
neighbors which belong to a well-guided social life. 
When the latter reflect on the opportunity such had to 
Oppress them, and consider the goodness of their con- 
duct, they behold it lovely and consistent with brother- 
hood ; and as the man whose mind is conformed to 
universal love hath his trust settled in God and finds a 
fif-m foundation in any changes or revolutions that 
happen among men, so also the goodness of his con- 
duct tends to spread a kind, benevolent disposition in 
the world. 

Section IV. 

Our blessed Redeemer, in directing us how to con- 
duct ourselves one towards another, appeals to our 
own feelings : " Whatsoever ye would that men should 
do to you, do ye even so to them." Now, when some 
who have never experienced hard labor themselves 
live in fulness on the labor of others, there is often a 
danger of their not having a right feeling of the labor- 
ers' condition, and of being thereby disqualified to judge 
candidly in their case, not knowing what they them- 
selves would desire, were they to labor hard from one 
year to another to raise the necessaries of life, and pay 
high rent besides. It is good for those who live in ful- 
ness to cultivate tenderness of heart, aiid to improve 
every opportunity of being acquainted with the hard- 
ships and latigues of those who labor for their living ; 
and thus to think seriously with themselves^ Am I 

Appendix^ 295 

inflaenced by tine charity in fixing all tny demands ? 
Have I no desire to support myself in expensive ctis- 
toms, because my acquaintances live in such customs ? 
If a wealthy man, on serious reflection, finds a wit- 
ness in his own conscience that he indulges himself in 
some expensive customs which might be omitted con* 
ststently with the true design of living, and which) 
were he to change places with those who occupy his 
estate, he would desire to be discontinued by them ; 
whoever is thus awakened will necessarily find the 
injunction binding : << Do ye even so to them." Di- 
vine love imposeth no rigorous or unreasonable com- 
mands, but graciously points out the spirit of brother- 
hood and the way to happiness, in attaining which it is 
necessary that we relinquish all that is selfish. 

Section V. 

To enforce the duty of tenderness to the poor, the 
inspired law-giver referred the children of Israel to 
their own experience : ^ Ye know the heart of a stran- 
ger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Eg]^^* 
He who hath been a stranger among unkind people, or 
under the government of those who were hard-hearted, 
has experienced this feeling; but a person who hath 
never felt the weight of misapplied power comes not to 
this knowledge but by an inward tenderness, in which 
the heart is prepared to sympathize with others. 

Let us reflect on the condition of a poor innocent 
man, on whom the rich man, from a desire after wealth 
and luxuries, lays heavy burdens ; when this laborer 
looks over the cause of his heavy toil and considers 
that it Is laid on him to support that which hath no 
foundation in pure wisdom, we may well suppose that 
an uneasiness ariseth in his mind towards one who 

296 Appendix. 

might without any inconvenience deal more favorably 
with him. When he considers that by his industry his 
fellow-creature is benefited and sees that this wealthy 
man is not satisfied with being supported in a plain 
way, but to. gratify a desire of conforming to wrong cus- 
toms increaseth to an extreme the labors of those who 
occupy his estate, we may reasonably judge that he 
will think himself unkindly used. When he considers 
that the proceedings of the wealthy are agreeable to 
the customs of the times, and sees no means of redress 
in this world, how will the sighings of this innocent 
person ascend to the throne of that great and good 
Being who created all, and who hath a constant care 
over his creatures I He who toils year after year to 
furnish others with wealth and superfluities, until by 
overmuch labor he is wearied and oppressed, under- 
stands the meaning of that language, '' Ye know the 
heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the 
land of Egypt." 

Many at this day who know not the heart of a stran- 
ger indulge themselves in ways of life which occasion 
more labor than Infinite Goodness intends for man, and 
yet compassionate the distresses of such as come di- 
rectly under their observation ; were these to change 
circumstances awhile with their laborers, were they to 
pass regularly through the means of knowing the heart 
of a stranger and come to a feeling knowledge of the 
straits and hardships which many poor innocent people 
pass through in obscure life ; were these who now fare 
sumptuously every day to act the other part of the 
scene until seven times had passed over them and re- 
turn again to their former states, — I believe many of 
them would embrace a less expensive life, and would 
lighten the heavy burdens of some who now labor out 
of their sight, and who pass through straits with 

Appendix^ 297 

which they are but little acquainted. To see their fel- 
low-creatures under difficulties to which they are in no 
degree accessory tends to awaken tenderness in the 
minds of all reasonable people ; but if we consider the 
condition of those who are depressed in answering our 
demands, who labor for us out of our sight while we 
pass our time in fulness, and consider also that much 
less than we demand would supply us with things 
really useful, what heart will not relent, or what rea- 
sonable man can refrain from mitigating that grief of 
which he himself is the cause, when he may do so 
without inconvenience ? 

Section VL 

If more men were usefully employed, and fewer ate "^ 
bread as a reward for doing that which is not useful, 
food and raiment would on a reasonable estimate be 
more in proportion to labor than they are at present ; for 
if four men working eight hours per day can do a por- 
tion of labor in a certain number of days, then five men 
equally capable may do the same business in the same 
time by working only six hours and twenty-four min- 
Btes per day. In proceeding agreeably to sound wis- 
dom, a small portion of daily labor might suffice to 
keep a proper stream gently circulating through all the 
channels of society ; and this portion of labor might be 
so divided and taken in the most advantageous parts 
of the day that people would not have that plea for the 
use of strong liquors which they have at present. The 
quantity of spirituous liquors imported and made in 
<mr country is great ; nor can so many thousand hog^ 
lieads of it be drunk every year without having a power- 
ful effect on our habits and morals. 

People spent with much labor often take strong 
13 • 


298 Appendix. 

liquor to revive them. The portion of the necessaries 
of life is such that those who support their families by 
day labor find occasion to labor hard, and many of 
them think strong drink a necessary part of their en- 

When people are spent with action and take these 
liquors not only as a refreshment from past labors, but 
also to enable them to go on without giving sufficient 
time to recruit by resting, it gradually turns them from 
that calmness of thought which attends those who ap- 
ply their hearts to true wisdom. That the spirits being 
scattered by too much bodily motion and again revived 
by strong drink makes a person unfit for Divine medi- 
tation, I suppose will not be denied ; and as multitudes 
of people are in this practice who do not take so much 
as to hinder them from managing their affairs, this cus- 
tom is strongly supported; but as through Divine 
goodness I have found that there is a more quiet, calm, 
and happy way intended for us to walk in, I am en- 
gaged to express what I feel in my heart concerning it 
As cherishing the spirit of love and meekness belongs 
to the family of Jesus Christ, so to avoid those things 
which are known to work against it is an indispensable 
duty. Every degree of luxury of what kind soever, and 
every demand for money inconsistent with Divine or- 
der, hath some connection with unnecessary labor. By 
too much labor the spirits are exhausted, and nature 
craves help from strong drink ; and the frequent use of 
strong drink works in opposition to the celestial influ- 
ence on the mind. There is in the nature of people 
some degree of likeness with that food and air to which 
they have been accustomed from their youth ; this fre- 
quently appears in those who, by a separation from 
their native air and usual diet, grow weak and unhealthy 
for want of them ; nor is it reasonable to suppose that 

Appendix. 299 

so many thousand hogsheads of fiery h'quor can be 
drunk every year and the practice continued from age 
to age without altering in some degree the natures of 
men and rendering their minds less apt to receive the 
pure truth in the love of it. 

As many who manifest some regard to piety in de- 
gree conform to those ways of living and of collecting 
wealth which increase labor beyond the bounds fixed 
by Divine wisdom, my desire is that they may so con- 
sider the connection of things as to take heed lest by 
exacting of poor men more than is consistent with uni- 
versal righteousness they promote that by their con- 
duct which in word they speak against. To treasure 
up wealth for another generation by means of the im- 
moderate labor of those who in some measure depend 
upon us is doing evil at present without knowing that 
wealth thus gathered may not be applied to evil pur- 
poses when we are gone. To labor hard or cause 
others to do so that we may live conformably to cus- 
toms which Christ our Redeemer discountenanced by 
his example in the days of his flesh, and which are con- 
trary to Divine order, is to manure a soil for propagat- 
ing an evil seed in the earth. They who enter deeply 
into these considerations and live under the weight of 
them will feel these things so heavy and their ill effects 
so extensive that the necessity of attending singly to 
Divine wisdom will be evident ; and will thereby be 
directed in the right use of things in opposition to the 
customs of the times ; and will be supported to bear 
patiently the reproaches attending singularity. To 
conform a little strengthens the hands of those who 
carry wrong customs to their utmost extent ; and the 
more a person appears to be virtuous and heavenly- 
minded, the more powerfully does his conformity ope- 
rate in favor of evil-doers. Lay aside the profession of 

300 Appendix. 

a pious life, and people expect little or no instnxction 
from the example ; but while we profess in all cases to 
live in constant opposition to that which is contrary to 
universal righteousness, what expressions are equal 
to the subject, or what language is sufficient to set forth 
the strength of the obligations we are under to beware 
lest by our example we lead others astray 1 

Section VI I. 

If by our wealth we make our children great, without 
a full persuasion that we could not bestow it better, and 
thus give them power to deal hardly with others more 
virtuous than they, it can after death give us no more 
satisfaction than if by this treasure we had raised 
others above our own, and had given them power to 
oppress them. 

Did a man possess as much land as would suffice for 
twenty industrious frugal people, and supposing that, 
being the lawful heir to it, he intended to give this 
great estate to his children ; yet if he found on research 
into the title that one half of this estate was the un- 
doubted right of a number of poor orphans, who as to 
virtue and understanding appeared to him as hopeful 
as his own children, the discovery would give him an 
opportunity to consider whether he was. attached to 
any interest distinct from the interest of those or- 

Some of us have estates sufficient for our children, 
and as many more to live upon, if they all employed 
their time in useful business, and lived in that plainnesa 
which becomes the true disciples of Christ; and we 
have no reason to believe that our children will be 
more likely to apply them to benevolent purposes than 
would some poor children with whom we ace ao- 

Appendix* 301 

quainted ; and yet did we believe that after our de- 
cease our estates would go equally among our chil- 
dren and the children of the poor, it would be likely to 
give us uneasiness. This may show to a thoughtful 
person that to be redeemed from all the remains of 
selfishness, to have a universal regard to our fellow- 
creatures, and to love them as our Heavenly Father 
loves them, we must constandy attend to the influence 
of his spirit 

When our hearts are enlarged to contemplate the 
nature of Divine love, we behold it harmonious ; but 
if we attentively consider that moving of selfishness 
which makes us uneasy at the apprehension of that 
which is in itself reasonable, and which, when separated 
from all previous conceptions and expectations, appears 
80, we see an inconsistency in it, for the subject of 
such uneasiness is future, and will not affect our chil- 
dren until we are removed into that state of being in 
which there is no possibility of our taking delight in 
anything contrary to the pure principle of universal 

As that natural desire of superiority in us, when given 
way to, extends to such of our favorites as we expect 
will succeed us ; and as the grasping after wealth and 
power for them adds gready to the burdens of the 
poor, and increaseth the evil of covetousness in this 
age, — I have often desired that in looking towards pos- 
terity we may remember the purity of that rest which is 
prepared for the Lord's people ; the impossibility of 
our taking pleasure in anything distinguishable from 
universal righteousness ; and bow vain and weak it is 
to give wealth and power to those who appear unlikely 
to apply it to the general good when we are gone. 

As Christians, all we possess is the gift of God, and 
in the distribution of it we act as his stewards ; it be- 

302 Appendix. 

comes us therefore to act agreeably to that Divine wis- 
dom which he graciously gives to his servants. If the 
steward of a great family takes that with which he is 
intrusted, and bestows it lavishly on some to the in- 
jury of others and to the damage of his employer, he 
degrades himself and becomes unworthy of his office. 

The true felicity of man in this life and in that which 
IS to come, is in being inwardly united to the Fountain 
of universal love and bliss. When we provide for pos- 
terity, and make settlements which will not take effect 
until after we are centred in another state of being, if 
we therein knowingly act contrary to universal love 
and righteousness, such conduct must arise from a 
false, selfish pleasure ; and if, after such settlements, 
our wills continue to stand in opposition to the Foun- 
tain of universal light and love, will there not be an 
impassable gulf between the soul and true felicity? 
But if after such settlement, and when too late for an 
alteration, we attain to that purified state which our 
Redeemer prayed his Father that his people might 
attain to, of being united to the Father and to the Son, 
must not a sincere repentance for all things done in a 
will separate from universal love, precede this inward 
sanctification ? And though in such depth of repent- 
ance and reconciliation all sins may be forgiven, can 
we reasonably suppose that our partial determinations 
in favor of those whom we selfishly loved will then 
afford us pleasure ? 

Section VIII. 

To labor for an establishment in Divine love, in which 
the mind is disentangled from the power of darkness, is 
the great business of man's life ; the collecting of riches, 
covering the body with fine wrought, costly apparel, and 

Appendix. 303 

having magnificent furniture, operate against universal 
love and tend to feed self, so that it belongs not to the 
children of the light to desire these things. He who 
sent ravens to feed Elijah in the wilderness, and in- 
creased the poor woman's small remains of meal and 
oil, is now as attentive as ever to the necessities of his 
people. When he saith unto his people, " Ye are my 
sons and daughters," no greater happiness can be de- 
sired by them, who know how gracious a Father he is. 

The greater part of the necessaries of life are so fax 
perishable that each generation hath occasion to labor 
for them ; and when we look towards a succeeding age 
with a mind influenced by universal love, instead of 
endeavoring to exempt some from those cares which 
necessarily relate to this h'fe, and to give them power 
to oppress others, we desire that they may all be the 
Lord's children and live in that humility and order be- 
coming his family. Our hearts, being thus opened and 
enlarged, will feel content with a state of things as 
foreign to luxury and grandeur as that which our Re- 
deemer laid down as a pattern. 

By desiring wealth for the power and distinction it 
gives, and gathering it on this motive, a person may 
become rich ; but his mind being moved by a draught 
distinguishable from the drawings of the Father, he 
cannot be united to the heavenly society, where God 
is the strength of our life. " It is easier," saith our 
Saviour, ''for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of 
God." Here our Lord uses an instructive similitude, 
for as a camel while in that form cannot pass through 
the eye of a needle, so a man who trusteth in riches, 
and holds them for the sake of the power and distinc- 
tion attending them, cannot in that spirit enter into the 
kingdom. Now every part of a camel may be so re* 

304 Appendix^ 

duced as to pass through a hole as small as the eje (^ 
a needle ; yet such is the bulk of the creature and th^ 
hardness of its bones and teeth, that it could not be 59 
reduced without much labor ; so ;nust man cease froni 
that spirit which craves riches, and be brought into 
another disposition before he inherits the kingdom, 93 
effectually as a camel must be changed from the form 
of a camel in passing through the eye of a needle. 

When our Saviour said to the rich youth, ** Go, sell 
what thou hast, and give to the poor," though undoubt- 
edly it was his duty to have done so, yet to enjoin the 
selling of all as a duty on every true Christian would b^ 
to limit the Holy One. Obedient children, who are in-^ 
trusted with much outward substance, wait lor wisdom 
to dispose of it agreeably to His will, " in whom the 
fsitherless find mercy." It may not be the duty of 
every one to commit at once their substance to other 
h,^ds, but rather from time to time to look round among 
the numerous branches of the great family as the stew* 
ards of Him who provides for the widows and fatherless ; 
but as disciples of Christ, although intrusted with much 
goods, they may not conform to sumptuous or luxurious 
living; for, as he lived in perfect plainness and slm* 
plicity, the greatest in his &mily cannot by virtue of 
his station claim a right to live in worldly grandeur 
without contradicting him who said, *'It i^ enough 
fQr the disciple to be as his Master." 

When our eyes are so single as to discerq the selfish 
spirit clearly, we behold it the greatest of all tyrants. 
Many thousand innocent people under some of the 
Rom^n emperors, being confirmed in the truth of 
Christ's religion by the powerful effects of his Holy 
Spirit upon them, and scrupling to conform to heathefi?' 
ish rites, were put to death by various kinds of cruel and 
lingering torments, as is largely set forth by Eusebius. 

Appendix. 3O5 

Now, if we single out Domitian, Nero, or any other 
of the persecuting emperors, the man, though terrible 
in his time, will appear as a tyrant of small consequence 
compared with this selfish spirit ; for, though his 
bounds were large, yet a great part of the world was 
out of his reach ; and though he grievously afflicted 
the bodies of innocent people, yet the minds of many 
were divinely supported in their greatest agonies, and 
being fiiithful unto death they were delivered from 
his tyranny. His reign, though cruel for a time, was 
soon over; and he in his greatest pomp appears to 
have been a slave to a selfish spirit 

Thus tyranny as applied to a man riseth up and soon 
has an end ; but if we consider the numerous oppres- 
sions in many states, and the calamities occasioned by 
contending nations in various countries and ages of the 
world, and remember that selfishness hath been the 
original cause of them aU ; if we consider that those 
who are unredeemed from this selfish spirit not only 
afflict others but are afflicted themselves, and have no 
real quietness in this life nor in futurity, but, according 
to the sayings of Christ, have their portion '^ where 
the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched " ; if 
we consider the havoc that is made in this age, and 
how numbers of people are hurried on, striving to col- 
lect tresMure to please that mind which wanders from 
perfect resignedness, and in that wisdom which is 
foolishness with God are perverting the true use of 
things, laboring as in the fire» contending with one 
another even unto blood, and exerting their power to 
support ways of living foreign to the life of one wholly 
crucified to the world ; if we consider what great num- 
bers of people are employed in preparing implements 
of war, and the labor and toil of armies set apart for 
protecting their respective territories from invasiooi 


306 Appendix. 

and the extensive miseries which attend their engage- 
ments ; while they who till the land and are employed 
in other useful things in supporting not only themselves 
but those employed in military affairs, and also those who 
own the soil, have great hardships to encounter through 
too much labor ; while others, in several kingdoms, are 
busied in fetching men to help to labor from distant 
parts of the world, to spend the remainder of their lives 
in the uncomfortable condition of slaves, and that self 
is the bottom of these proceedings ; — amidst all this 
confusion, and these scenes of sorrow and distress, can 
we remember that we are the disciples of the Prince of 
Peace, and the example of humility and plainness which 
he set for us, without feeling an earnest desire to be 
disentangled from everything connected with selfish cus- 
toms in food, in raiment, in houses and in all things 
else ? That being of Christ's family, and walking as 
he walked, we may stand in that uprightness wherein 
man was first made, and have no fellowship with those 
inventions which men in their fallen wisdom have 
sought out 

Section IX. 

The way of carrying on wars common in the world is 
so far distinguishable from the purity of Christ's reli- 
gion that many scruple to join in them. Those who are 
so redeemed from the love of the world as to possess 
nothing in a selfish spirit have their *Mife hid with 
Christ in God," and he preserves them in resigned- 
ness, even in times of commotion. 

As they possess nothing but what pertains to his 
family, anxious, thoughts about wealth or dominion 
have little or nothing in them on which to work ; and 
they learn contentment in being disposed of according 
to His will who, being omnipotent and always mindful 

Appendix. 307 

of his children, causeth all things to work for their 
good ; but when that spirit works which loves riches, 
and in its working gathers wealth and cleaves to 
customs which have their root in self-pleasing, what- 
ever name it hath it still desires to defend the treasures 
thus gotten. This is like a chain in which the end of 
one link encloseth the end of another. The rising up 
of a desire to obtain wealth is the beginning ; this de- 
sire being cherished, moves to action ; and riches thus 
gotten please self; and while self has a life in them it 
desires to have them defended. Wealth is attended 
with power, by which bargains and proceedings con- 
trary to universal righteousness are supported ; and 
hence oppression, carried on with worldly policy and 
order, clothes itself with the name of justice and be- 
comes like a seed of discord in the soul. And as a 
spirit which wanders from the pure habitation prevails, 
so the seeds of war swell and sprout and grow and be- 
come strong until much fruit is ripened. Then cometh 
the harvest spoken of by the prophet, which '* is a heap 
in the day of grief and desperate sorrows." O that we 
who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to 
be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein ex- 
amine our foundation and motives in holding great 
estates ! May we look upon our treasures, the furni- 
ture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether 
the seeds of war have nourishment in these our pos- 
sessions. Holding treasures in the self-pleasing spirit 
is a strong plant, the fruit whereof ripens £ut A day 
of outward distress is coming, and Divine love calls 
to prepare against it 

Section X. 

^ The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's ; but 
tiie earth hath he given to the children of men." As 

3o8 Appendix. 

servants of God our land or estates we hold under him 
as his gifts ; and in appl3ring the profits it is our duty 
to act consistently with the designs of our Benefactor. 
Imperfect men may give from motives of misguided af- 
fection^ but perfect wisdom and goodness gives agree* 
ably to his own nature ; nor is this gift absolute, but 
conditional, for us to occupy as dutiful children and 
not otherwise; for He alone is the true proprietor. 
" The world," saith He, " is mine, and the fulness 
thereof." The inspired lawgiver directed that such of 
the Israelites as sold their inheritance should sell it for 
a term only, and that they or their children should 
again enjoy it in the year of jubilee, settled on every fif- 
tieth year. ''The land shall not be sold forever, for 
the land is mine, saith the Lord, for ye are strangers 
and sojourners with me." This was designed to pre- 
vent the rich from oppressing the poor by too much en- 
grossing the land ; and our blessed Redeemer said, 
" Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall 
in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." 

When Divine love takes place in the hearts of any 
people, and they steadily act in a principle of universal 
righteousness, then the true intent of the law is ful- 
filled, though their outward modes of proceeding may 
be various ; but when men are possessed by that spirit 
hinted at by the prophet, and, looking over their wealth, 
say in their hearts, '' Have we not taken to us horns by 
our own strength ? " they deviate from the Divine law, 
and do not count their possessions so strictly God's, 
nor the weak and poor entitled to so much of the in- 
crease thereof, but that they may indulge their desires 
in conforming to worldly pomp. Thus when house is 
joined to house and field laid to field, until there is no 
place, and the poor are thereby straitened, though this 
is done by bargain and purchase, yet so far as it stands 

Appendix. 309 

distinguished from universal Ibve, so far that woe pre- 
dicted by the prophet will accompany their proceed- 
ings. As He who first founded the earth was then the 
true proprietor of it, so he still remains, and though 
be hath given it to the children of men. so that multi- 
tudes of people have had their sustenance from it while 
they continued here, yet he hath never alienated it, 
but his right is as good as at first ; nor can any apply 
the increase of their possessions contrary to universal 
love, nor dispose of lands in a way which they know 
tends to exalt some by oppressing others without being 
justly chargeable with usurpation. 

Section XI. 

If we count back one hundred and fifty years and 
compare the inhabitants of Great Britain with the na- 
tions of North America on the like compass of ground, 
the latter, I suppose, would bear a small proportion to 
the former. On the discovery of this fertile continent 
many of those thickly settled inhabitants coming over, 
the natives at first generally treated them with kind- 
aess ; and as they brought iron tools and a variety of 
things for man's use, they gladly embraced the oppor- 
tunity of traffic and encouraged these foreigners to set- 
tle ; I speak only of improvements made peaceably. 

Thus our Gracious Father, who beholds the situation 
of all bis creatures, hath opened a way for a thickly set- 
tled land ; now if we consider the turning of God's 
hand in thus far giving us some room in this continent, 
and that the offspring of those ancient possessors of the 
country, in whose eyes we appear as new-comers, are 
yet owners and inhabitants of the land adjoining us, 
and that their way of life, requiring much room, hath 
been transmitted to them from their predecessors and 

3 lO Appendix. 

probably settled by the custom of a great many ages, 
we may see the necessity of cultivating the lands al- 
ready obtained of them and applying the increase con- 
sistently with true wisdom so as to accommodate the 
greatest number of people, before we have any right to 
plead, as members of the one great family, the equity 
of their assigning to us more of their possessions and 
living in a way requiring less room. 

Did we all walk as became the followers of our 
blessed Saviour, were all the fruits of the country re- 
tained in it which are sent abroad in return for strong 
drink, costly array, and other luxuries, and the labor 
and expense of importing and exporting applied to hus- 
bandry and useful trades, a much greater number of 
people than now reside here might, with the Divine 
blessing, live comfortably on the lands already granted 
us by those ancient possessors of the country. If we 
faithfully serve God, who has given us such room in 
this land, I believe he will make some of us useful 
among the natives, both in publishing the doctrines of 
his Son, our Saviour, and in pointing out to them the 
advantages of cultivating the earth ; while people are so 
much more thickly settled in some parts than others, a 
trade in some serviceable articles may be to mutual ad- 
vantage and may be carried on with much more regu- 
larity and satisfaction to a sincere Christian than trade 
now generally is. 

One person continuing to live contrary to true wis- 
dom commonly draws others into connection with him, 
and when these embrace the way the first hath chosen, 
their proceedings are like a wild vine- which springing 
from a single seed and growing strong, its branches 
extend, and their little tendrils twist round all herbs 
and boughs of trees within their reach, and are so 
braced and locked in that without much labor and 

Appendix. 311 

great strength they are not disentangled. Thus these 
customs, small in their beginning, as they increase pro- 
mote business and traffic, and many depend on them 
for a living ; but it is evident that all business which 
hath not its foundation in true wisdom is not becoming 
a faithful follower of Christ, who loves God not only with 
all his heart, but with all his strength and ability. And 
as the Lord is able and will support those whose hearts 
are perfect towards him in a way agreeably to his un- 
erring wisdom, it becomes us to meditate on the privi- 
leges of his children, to remember that ''where the 
spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," and that in join- 
ing to customs which we know are wrong there is a de- 
parting from his government and a certain degree of 
alienation from him. Some well-inclined people are 
entangled in such business, and at times may have a 
desire of being freed from it ; our ceasing from these 
things may therefore be made helpful to them ; and 
though for a time their business may fail, yet if they 
humbly ask wisdom of God and are truly resigned to 
hiro, he will not fail them nor forsake them. He who 
created the earth and hath provided sustenance for mil- 
lions of people in past ages is as attentive to the neces- 
sities of his children as ever. To press forward to per- 
fection is our duty ; and if herein we lessen a busi- 
ness by which some poor people earn their bread, the 
Lord who calls to cease from those things will take 
care of those whose business fails by it, if they sin- 
cerely seek him. If the connection we have with the 
inhabitants of these provinces, and our interest consid- 
ered as distinct from others, engage us to promote plain 
living in order to enrich our country, though a plain 
life is in itself best, yet by living plain in a selfish spirit 
we advance not in true religion. ^ 

Divine love which enlarges the heart towards man* 

312 Appendix. 

kind universally is that alone which stops every corrapt 
stream and opens those channels of business and com- 
merce in which nothing runs that is not pure, and so 
establishes our goings that when in our labors we medi- 
tate on the universal love of God and the harmony of 
holy angels, the serenity of our minds may never be 
clouded by remembering that some part of our employ- 
ments tends to support customs which have their foun- 
dation in the self-seeking s(pirit 

Section XII. 

While our minds are prepossessed in favor of cus- 
toms distinguishable from perfect purity, we are in 
danger of not attending with singleness to that light 
which opens to our view the nature of universal right- 

In the aflEiirs of a thickly settled country are vari- 
ety of useful employments besides tilling the earth ; so 
that for some men to have more land than is necessary 
to build upon and to slnswer the occasions of their fami- 
lies may consist with brotherhood ; and from the vari- 
ous gifts which God hath bestowed on those employed 
in husbandry, for some to possess and occupy much 
more than others may likewise so consist ; but when 
any, on the strength of their possessions,* demand such 
rent or interest as necessitates their tenants to a closer 
application to business than our merciful Father de- 
signed for us, it puts the wheels of perfect brotherhood 
out of order and leads to employments the promoting 
of which belongs not to the family of Christ, whose ex- 
ample in all points being a pattern of wisdom, the plain- 
ness and simplicity of his outward appearance may weU 
make us ashamed to adorn our bodies with costly array 
or treasure up wealth by the least oppression. 

Appendix, 313 

Though by claims grounded on prior possession 
great inequality appears among men ; yet the instruc- 
tions of the Great Proprietor of the earth are necessary 
to be attended to in all our proceedings as possessors 
or daimers of the soil ^ The steps of a good man are 
ordered of the Lord/' and those who are thus guided 
and whose hearts are enlarged in his love give direc- 
tions concerning their possessions agreeably thereto , 
and that claim which stands on universal righteousness 
is a good right ; but the continuance of that right de- 
pends on properly applying the profits thereof. The 
word '< right" commonly relates to our possessions. 
We say, a right of propriety to such a division of a 
province, or a clear, indisputable right to the land within 
certain bounds. Thus this word is continued as a re- 
membrancer of the original intent of dividing the land 
by boundaries, and implies that it was equitably or 
rightly divided, that is, divided according to righteous- 
ness. In this — that is, in equity and righteousness — 
consists the strength of our claim. If we trace an un- 
righteous claim and find gifts or grants proved by suffi- 
cient seals and witnesses, it gives not the claimant a 
right; for that which is opposite to righteousness is 
wrong, and the nature of it must be changed before it 
can be right 

Suppose twenty free men, professed followers of 
Christ, discovered an island, and that they with their 
wives, independent of all others, took possession of it 
and, dividing it equally, made improvements and multi- 
plied ; suppose these first possessors, being generally in- 
fluenced by true love, did with paternal regard look over 
the incresuing condition of the inhabitants, and, near the 
end of their lives, gave such directions concerning their 
respective possessions as best suited the convenience 
of the whole and tended to preserve love and harmony; 

3 14 Appendix. 

and that their successors in the continned increase of 
people generally followed their pious example and pur- 
sued means the most effectual to keep oppression out 
of their island ; but that one of these first settlers, from 
a fond attachment to one of his numerous sons, no 
more deserving than the rest, gives the chief of his 
lands to him, and by an instrument sufficiently wit- 
nessed strongly expressed his mind and will ; — suppose 
this son, being landlord to his brethren and nephews, 
demands such a portion of the fruits of the earth as 
may supply himself, his ^mily, and some others, and 
that these others thus supplied out of his store are em- 
ployed in adorning his building with curious engravings 
and paintings, preparing carriages to ride in, vessels for 
his house, delicious meats, fine wrought apparel and 
furniture, all suiting that distinction lately arisen be- 
tween him and the other inhabitants ; and that, having 
the absolute disposal of these numerous improvements, 
his power so increaseth that in all conferences relative 
to the public affairs of the island these plain, honest 
men, who are zealous for equitable establishments, find 
great difficulty in proceeding agreeably to their right- 
eous inclinations ; — suppose this son, from a fondness 
to one of his children, joined with a desire to continue 
this grandeur under his own name, confirms the chief 
of his possessions to him, and thus for many ages 
there is one great landlord over near a twentieth part 
of this island, and the rest are poor oppressed people, 
to some of whom, from the manner of their education, 
joined with a notion of the greatness of their predeces- 
sors, labor is disagreeable ; who therefore, by artful ap- 
plications to the weakness, unguardedness, and corrup- 
tions of others in striving to get a living out of them, 
increase the difficulties among them, while the inhabi- 
tants of other parts, who guard against oppression and 

Appendix. 315 

with one consent train up their children in frugality and 
useful labor, live more harmoniously; — if we trace the 
daims of the ninth or tenth of these great landlords 
down to the first possessor and find the claim support- 
ed throughout by instruments strongly drawn and wit- 
nessed, after all we could not admit a belief into our 
hearts that he had a right to so great a portion of land 
after such a numerous increase of inhabitants. 

The first possessor of that twentieth part held no 
more, we suppose, than an equitable portion ; but when 
the Lord, who first gave these twenty men possession 
of this island unknown to all others, gave being to nu- 
merous people who inhabited the twentieth part, whose 
natures required the fruits thereof for their sustenance, 
this great claimer of the soil could not have a right to 
the whole to dispose of it in gratifying his irregular de- 
sires ; but they, as creatures of the Most High God, 
Possessor of heaven and earth, had a right to part of 
what this great claimer held, though they had no in- 
struments to confirm their right Thus oppression in 
the extreme appears terrible ; but oppression in more 
refined appearances remains to be oppression, and when 
the smallest degree of it is cherished it grows stronger 
and more extensive. 

To lalx>r for a perfect redemption from this spirit of 
oppression is the great business of the whole fiimily of 
Christ Jesus in this world 


CuBbridge : Printed bjr Wtlch, Bigtlow, h Co. 

3 2044 020 51 



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